Meetings are essential for a company’s success. They are a key factor that ignites synergy and results in greater productivity. Without meetings, a team’s workflow won’t fully accomplish its goals.
It’s important to schedule meetings because they allow employees to discuss their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Members use their meeting time to share feedback about their current progress. This magical period of time they spend as a team boosts their energy levels, creates a collaborative work culture and fosters collaboration among teammates.
But we all know that anything done to excess will create problems. This applies to meetings, too.
According to Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, and Jeff Bezos, meetings are a waste of time (they kill productivity too). This blog will highlight the five reasons why they say too many meetings will kill your team’s productivity. We will also give you the actions needed to prevent this, to use meetings as a last resort, not the first option.
Meetings have too much discussion, not enough action
“My team frequently has meetings to discuss all of the work we need to be doing…instead of doing it.”
Actions speak louder than words. You can only see results when they are finished. But the more time you spend in meetings, the less time there is for action.
If you’re always planning, there’s no action happening—just a waste of time and effort in thinking of plans that never actually happen. Of course, it’s great to brainstorm with your team. But it’s sometimes overwhelming to the point that people overthink everything. Instead of finding a simple solution, they have created more problems. Remember that each minute you use in your meeting could have been used to accomplish things instead.
Whether your team is working from home or in the office, this is a problem. You’re just drawing the plan and not executing it. Meetings must always produce an outcome!
So the solution? Keep your meetings short by:
- Giving your team the agenda of your meeting
- Giving them preparation time before the meeting
- Keeping the planning phase short
- Getting straight to the point
- Listing out the results your team accomplished
- Discussing the results with your team and their effects on your productivity
Here’s a tip: meetings should only be 30 minutes to 1 hour long. After the planning phase, your team can give suggestions and ideas as needed. They can prepare them 20 or 30 minutes before the meeting. Targeting the action required by going straight to the point saves a lot of time. Listing and discussing your team members’ workflow can create an order for your meeting.
Meetings interrupt the flow of action, lower productivity
“Used to work for a place that would have 7-8 hour meetings. The only thing ever accomplished was handing out gear. The rest of the meeting turned into people refusing to take them, and management not being able to figure out how to work them.”
Imagine that story from a company that does up to 7-8 hours of meetings a day,) every day. That’s quite a hassle! Productivity would surely sink like a stone (unless there’s a buffet after every meeting, right? Just kidding, productivity still would fall).
Meetings are like taking a vacation; there is never really a good time for them. Well, that depends on how long and how frequently you schedule them. If we dread meetings, we will have a hard time appreciating that they can still be important.
But how can we manage things without frequent, prolonged meetings? Earlier, we advised you to shorten your meetings. Here’s the next tip: say the right things at the right time. Combine this with the right action that is essential for your team. This will lessen the number of meetings you need, and productivity will undoubtedly rise.
You can’t say the right things at the right time in the right way if you have to do it in a meeting that doesn’t fit well into your schedule. Your workflow is interrupted by the meeting, and so is everyone else’s, hurting productivity.
Here’s an actionable tip: Plan out the things you have to tell your team. Don’t call or participate in a meeting if you haven’t prepared what you are going to say. Do this when you can give it your full attention, not under time pressure or as an afterthought. Then hold the meeting at a time announced well in advance and keep it short and efficient.
Meetings demotivate employees
“Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave; it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.” – Elon Musk to his Tesla employees.
If you have ever sat in on a long meeting, you have such enormous patience—I salute you. But not everyone’s like you, buddy. Some are fighting to keep their eyes open. Instead of productivity, frustration grows because they feel like it’s a complete waste of time (more often than not, to be honest, it is).
Meetings are often unproductive, keeping your team from getting stuff done. Your staff tends just to stick around because they think it’s essential. But it frustrates them even more because they don’t have anything to say or have already given their idea. It’d make them demotivated to the point that they’ll think, “it would be better if I looked for another job.”
Useful tip: Let your team voice all of their concerns. I mean ALL of them. Make them feel like they’re essential to these meetings. Along with the first tip earlier, let them write out their questions after updating the team about what they’re working on. Getting feedback on their ideas can lift their spirits and help them with their tasks. It will motivate them. Plus, if their concerns are voiced and answered, there’ll be fewer problems in the future.
Meetings increase poor decision making from immediate responses
Meetings are decision-oriented. It’s a communication medium, ideas going back and forth with different viewpoints.
Your team expects you to give an immediate reply from their information. There is almost no time to think it through properly. As a result, they can lead to rushed judgments and poor decision-making.
Imagine again, what would happen if you’d have lots of meetings that resulted in rushed decisions? Rushing a decision increases the chances of mistakes because you may be missing necessary information or expertise. And your workers, numbed by the amount of time and knowledge in numerous meetings, stop listening and learning. Quality and productivity suffer.
Tip: Instead of going for frequent meetings, make all key team members write their opinions beforehand. Let them share them with everyone in writing. This will allow people to soak in new information and think it through before responding. Filter everyone’s thoughts, and what’s left afterward is worth saying at the meeting. By the way, speaking helps everyone in the room, but writing helps everyone more. If there are things that need updating afterward, use your chat group.
Meetings have no value to deliver
Your team can come prepared to listen. They also provide status updates and are available to answer questions. However, they’re not prepared to add value. Sure, you keep planning and brainstorming thoughts with your team. But what does it cost? Your time, effort, money (for some), and the ability to build up productivity.
There are 25 million meetings a day in the U.S., and 67% of executives consider meetings failures. That means 16.7 million of them don’t see meetings as productive. They don’t see meetings as something valuable.
As a final tip to make your meetings add value, follow the first four tips we gave you earlier. Make your sessions useful by
- Shortening your meetings
- Lessening the frequency of meetings
- Letting your team voice all of their concerns
- Letting your crucial team members write down their opinions
We completely understand that there are times when meetings are necessary. But also take note that it’s essential to know that they shouldn’t be your first option. Let’s be honest; meetings are essential to check what is happening with your team’s work. But make sure that ONLY the things that are important to know to make up your meeting agenda.
It is essential to be aware of the dangers of meetings to your team’s productivity. If you are looking for a way to prevent your team from going off track, consider using some of these tips. And if you find that you do need to have a meeting, make sure it is scheduled as a last resort. After all, there is nothing more productive than getting work done!
Check out our blog for more information on making your remote team productive and avoiding the adverse side effects of meetings. And as always, if you need help getting your team up and running, don’t hesitate to check out more of our blogs here. We love helping teams succeed!