How often have you hosted a meeting and thought it didn’t work out? Research shows that ineffective meetings make you lose 31 hours per month. That’s a lot of wasted time that you can avoid and increase work productivity.
Every bad meeting comes down to five reasons. I call it the five remote meeting sins. Avoid them to host productive meetings filled with engaging discussions.
Here are the 5 don’ts of a remote meeting and the solutions to them:
1. Don’t schedule unnecessary meetings
“This meeting could have been an email” is a legendary meme, but it’s true. Browse through your meetings, and you’ll realize most of them didn’t deserve a 30-minute schedule—an email would have sufficed.
Research shows excessive meetings decrease employee productivity, happiness, and work satisfaction. Hence, you should have a strict criterion of when to hold a meeting and when not to.
Here’s a helpful HBR chart:
Draft a similar decision tree and educate your employees on when they should schedule a meeting. Doing this will save you time, avoid chaos (you know how it feels when someone asks you to join an urgent 30-minute call), and increase your work productivity.
2. Don’t invite too many people
The fewer people in a meeting, the more it’s productive and filled with fruitful discussions. So, make sure you invite only the necessary people who are needed.
Here’s how you can approach this:
a) Before the meeting, note the key discussion points and the people whose presence is critical to decide the outcomes.
b) Send invites to only those people.
c) If you’d like to know the whole team’s opinion, ask your team leader to collect their respective team’s views and invite only the team leaders.
d) Record the meeting and send it to everyone in your company.
3. Don’t come into the meeting unprepared
Imagine you schedule a meeting, and the participants are mum throughout. No one provides their perspective. Everyone only stares at each other.
Why even organize such calls? Lack of preparation is the number one reason meetings are unproductive. The antidote to this is to ensure everyone comes prepared with their perspectives.
Before the call:
a) Let the participants know what the meeting is about, and you all will discuss.
b) Ask everyone to come to the meeting with the notes/perspectives and topics they will speak about.
4. Don’t interrupt
Many participants hate meetings because their voices aren’t heard. So, they think, “Why even attend a meeting if no one hears me?” Ensure you don’t let this happen.
As a meeting facilitator, you should ensure everyone gets a chance to talk. Ask everyone to mute themselves when one person is talking, and only allow questions when they have finished their talk.
Don’t let one person monopolize the entire conversation. Set a limit on how long a person can talk and how many questions a participant asks. If one person does have many doubts, they can clarify them after the meeting with the same person.
5. Don’t forget to follow up
A meeting is successful only if the participants act on their responsibilities post-meeting. If the attendees forget to do their respective tasks, what’s the benefit of meetings? Isn’t it a waste of time, effort, and resources?
So, before the meeting ends, summarize the key discussion points and let everyone know their responsibilities. Provide everyone the resources to do their tasks and give a deadline before which they should submit their work.
Before the deadline, follow up with everyone to ensure everyone is doing their tasks and will complete them on time.