Replacing meetings to gain more time on your calendar to be productive

ssssscrape, knock-knock-knock

I got a Slack message from Peter! Wow! I think I’m changing him 😉

Peter: “Hey Wendy, I noticed that you have been rethinking how we do things around here instead of just finding time on our calendars. Are you on a mission to eliminate meetings?”

Me (Wendy): “Hey Peter, nice to see you’re using Slack more and email less 😉  Yes, I’m on a mission to eliminate as many meetings as possible. My calendar is filled with meetings all day. I can only work “after hours”.”

Peter: “Yes, I’m getting used to not emailing as much. Wow! I didn’t realize your calendar is that impacted. Is it the same with others?”

Me: “Yes. It’s very exhausting to be on back to back calls all day. We need to change peoples’ minds and habits of scheduling a meeting for any discussions or conversations.”

Peter: “I agree. I’ve resorted to blocking my calendar so I have time to work on things.”

Me: “I think we need to consider the purpose and what we are trying to achieve. Then we figure out how to best achieve that purpose, instead of blindly scheduling a meeting. For example, when you had that piece of news to share, we used to call a meeting to tell people. Instead we used Slack. We also used to gather information by inviting everyone to a meeting. I think we did quite well on Slack this time, getting votes and new fun activity ideas for the upcoming company offsite.”

Peter: “Yeah, I’m quite surprised how well our Slack voting worked out. We got through it without a meeting at all. Does this mean we have to scrutinize every meeting and then decide whether we need a meeting or not?”

Me: “Yes. We should always ask ourselves what the purpose is for any meeting and what we want to achieve from it. Knowing that meetings can be categorized into 4 types also makes it easier to decide what needs a meeting.”

Peter: “4 types?”

Me: “Yes. We get together because we either have information to share, have decisions to make, need to collaborate to work out a problem, or brainstorm on something. We have already proven that we can gather and share information without a meeting. So, next time you want to call a meeting, figure out if you’re trying to share information, or if you want to gather information. If so, no need to call a meeting. And even for decision making, just like the company offsite fun activities, we can get input from folks asynchronously, and determine later whether we need a meeting to make a decision. In our case, as you said, a decision was made without a meeting!”

Peter: “Hmm… that sure makes it easier. But what about the other types that you mentioned?”

Me: “Good question Peter, but I need to run. Let’s discuss that another time.”

Peter: “Ok. I still want to hear about the other 2 types next time!”

Replacing meetings with more productive time requires a change in mindset. Make sure you tune in to our story next time.

In the meantime, you can see all the articles I’ve written on the subject on meetings.

Read the rest of Wendy’s story here:

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