Tips to Cope With Too Many Meetings and Avoid Burnout
20 May 2021
Work meetings have a bad reputation for being time-consuming and inefficient. They are often seen as a chore, and for good reason. Sometimes, you can’t help but think that a simple email would have been enough, and you could have spent that time doing something more productive. However, meetings are still an integral part of our working lives.
According to a Work Management Survey, 34% employees attend around 6 meetings per week on average, and 44% say that too many meetings have sabotaged their productivity.
If you think most meetings are a waste of time, then you are not alone. The Muse conducted a survey about unproductive meetings and found that employees think that more than 67% of their meetings are unproductive. Those surveyed were spending up to 4 hours on average to prepare and present their status updates in meetings (this is in addition to the time spent on attending meetings).
We generally attend many types of meetings in the workplace or remotely — brainstorming sessions, info-sharing/decision-making meetings, briefings, status updates, etc. It gives the illusion that we are working, but in reality they often prevent us from getting to what we need done. Knowing that in business time is money makes this even more frustrating!
Have you been struggling with too many meetings that are extensively long, unnecessary, and ineffective? Keep reading this article to find out more about how to improve the situation and get some real work done!
Corporate Productivity and Meetings
Perceived meeting effectiveness, as reported in the Harvard Business Review, should really worry managers:
71% of the 182 senior managers interviewed defined office meetings as unproductive and inefficient.
65% of them admit that meetings prevented them from finishing their work.
The study further showed the ineffectiveness of these meetings as 64% of these managers said they found it hard to focus on work due to frequent meetings.
Finally, Harvard Business Review summarized that the consequence of too many meetings at work is low level of employee involvement. This has a significant impact on a company’s productivity, especially if you calculate the time employees could have dedicated to more strategic activities.
The following statistics show why unnecessary sessions are a burden, as most employees are already experiencing an overload of meetings.
“Acute meetingitis” is a virus that affects many organizations, but what can be done to move towards making work sessions more productive?
Meetings are still a key part of organizational life; they present opportunities to discuss and explain possible solutions to improve business processes.
The benefits of a focused meeting are remarkable — a session as short and dynamic as possible impacts attendees’ sense of satisfaction and gratification and increases the possibility of obtaining creative solutions.
However, too many meetings can also lead to lots of unnecessary wasted time and give rise to conflict. That’s why it is crucial to design them in the best possible way, to optimize work days and get better results in terms of productivity.
Here are some steps to make office meetings more productive and useful.
Tips to Make Team Meetings Productive
Meetings that do not provide useful information, goals, or actions do not hold value. Here are the tricks for managers to make their meetings more meaningful:
Evaluate the time of the meeting
It is important to assess what time and day of the week would be better to schedule a meeting by considering the factors that can affect the productivity and punctuality of the attendees.
It is also critical to evaluate whether holding a meeting is useful, as many sessions are periodic but not always indispensable. If there are no urgent topics to address, it is better to postpone or cancel the meeting altogether rather than sticking to a routine.
Understand your agenda
A common mistake of “boring” meetings is the lack of direction. If participants have no idea about the meeting’s purpose, it will be challenging to get them engaged, which will turn the session into a monologue. Categorizing and defining the agenda of the meeting helps people realize what needs to be done during the meeting.
For instance, operational meetings are short, used to discuss urgent issues and find solutions. These sessions should be kept brief and concrete, unlike strategic meetings that tend to be longer and open to discussion as they are focused on long-term plans.
Read more: How to write an agenda that you will stick to?
Invite only essential participants
Decide in advance who will be attending the meeting. Corporate meetings with fewer attendees are more effective. The higher the number, the more likely you are to lose control. That’s why only those who can offer a valuable contribution and are related to the discussion should participate.
Appoint a Moderator
If there are many participants, it can be useful to select a moderator who can coordinate the session, keep time, and articulate the objectives and meeting topics. The same person will also keep track of important discussion points and draw up a meeting report to share with other attendees.
To optimize office meetings, it is recommended to limit the presentation slides as well as the time of each participant’s speeches. Setting up these parameters will be helpful to manage the conduct of a meeting.
Avoid discussions unrelated to the meeting
Discussions unrelated to the meeting lead to wasted time for others. One of the easiest ways to stick to the agenda is to ask the people to resolve their own disputes at another time.
Alternatively, an issue can be too complex and participants might need more time to resolve it than the allotted time, or don’t have access to specific tools to tackle the problem. In this case, it might be practical moving the conversation to another time, or asking relevant attendees to collaborate online after the meeting.
Define the start and end time
Setting time limits prevents meetings from taking longer than necessary. The more time participants spend in meetings, the less time they have to invest in their work. The meeting organizer should review the issues to be discussed and allot time accordingly. Any unresolved matters can be addressed online or in a follow-up meeting.
Summary of Meeting Minutes
After the end of a meeting, key takeaways should be summarized to highlight the event’s value. A quick recap of important points, no matter how brief, helps keep participants’ minds fresh. It should also address the actions needed to be taken to solve an issue. By reminding all attendees about the discussed matters, a short summary ensures that they will take the next steps required.
It would take a lot of time if you are taking minutes manually; with a digital tool like Notiv you can record meetings from start to finish, while focusing on the conversation and people you are dealing with. Notiv is a complete meeting solution with various useful features that cater to all your needs. It automatically records, transcribes, and analyzes your meetings and calls, and delivers highlights, summary suggestions, and action items. It works well even for people with accents and offers accurate meeting transcriptions.
Notiv easily integrates with your calendar and other external apps, joining meetings/calls automatically. It works with the most popular video conferencing software like Google Meet and Zoom, but also connects to other tools.
The Bottom Line
The tips explored above will help employees to prepare in advance and to keep the discussions relevant for a meaningful meeting. Taking note of important action points is important when figuring out next steps. Improving meetings in this way can reduce wasted time and ensure that employees remain focused on their work. Companies also benefit from proper planning and the implementation of a more structured approach to office meetings.
Too many meetings can be detrimental to office culture, but the right amount of meetings done properly can keep a team working in harmony to a shared goal.
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