If you need to have a meeting and it only lasts about ten minutes, don’t get everyone together — use video conferencing instead of just meeting in person or by voice. In this way, your on-site employees and the external team can get the necessary information quickly and in a timely manner.
More than half of on-site employees aim to work remotely in the future, so you might as well practice this way of conferencing now. Video conferencing reduces meeting time, increases productivity and enhances employee relationships. It’s a well-known fact that unproductive on-site or off-site meetings tend to lead to staff withdrawal.
To avoid impacting your team’s productivity — use this checklist to assess the need for a meeting (a quick email might work just fine). Here are a few guidelines.
Checklist for meetings
- Is the problem urgent?
- Are you looking for dialogue or deliverables?
- Who is the designated person responsible for my task?
- How many ideas do I need when brainstorming?
- Do we get together to discuss a new concept or project?
- What is my optimal result?
How often do we need status updates if this is a recurring meeting?
- Is there time to prepare?
- Is everyone I invite required?
- What is everyone’s function in this meeting?
- Can we meet via video calling?
- How long should we meet?
- Is the plan clear?
- Is the meeting room AV ready?
- Do we need this meeting now, or can it wait?
If you’re not sure, check this list before sending out calendar invites.
1. Is the problem urgent?
This is the first question you should ask yourself. If you must communicate, quickly consider Slack or Microsoft Teams. You can brief critical decision makers and leaders and determine whether you should meet at all or consult other team members first.
In short, if you have an urgent problem that requires feedback from other team members, you need to meet. But be sure to warn others quickly.
2. Do I want a dialogue or deliverables?
Think about the kind of meeting you want to have before sending out calendar invites. As hybrid work becomes the norm, employees who are further away may want to meet in person. Meetings reduce the productivity of remote workers by 1.8 times more than on-site workers, so be aware of different schedules. Also take into account the time of your remote employees so that they can be on site if necessary. Last-minute meetings mean your remote workers are often out or unprepared.
If you want your core team to share ideas, you need to set up a meeting.
A meeting may not be necessary if you only need to collaborate on a project or examine the work of other team members. Remind the team about deadlines and ask for comments or contributions to shared team papers instead. Google Drive and Dropbox Paper are valuable platforms for receiving team input and changes. Instead of scheduling a meeting, you can use emails or instant messages to remind people.
If tasks can be completed offline, do it. You can then meet in person or via video to discuss the progress of the project at a later date with new ideas.
3. Who is the designated person responsible for my task?
Before organizing the meeting, ask yourself this question. If you’re in charge of a project, prepare a list of requirements before meeting with your team. Once you’re done with your list, book your meeting.
You should not schedule the meeting unless you are the person in charge. Instead, contact the project manager to help with any deliverables.
4. How many ideas do I need when brainstorming?
Having other minds in the room is always more appealing when brainstorming for a project. A meeting isn’t always necessary just because you want help creating new ideas.
Save brainstorming sessions for when you need a lot of feedback from others before starting a project. Have a virtual brainstorm for small ideas like blog post names or social media themes. Create a shared document and invite team members to contribute.
It is worth having a meeting or conference to discuss large-scale campaigns or initiatives.
5. Do we get together to discuss a new concept or project?
Project kick-off conferences are essential for the collaboration process. It is critical to set aside time to discuss the roles, objectives, and timelines the group will need to launch a program.
Try alternating check-ins with meetings and virtual collaboration if the project has already started.
Instead of a weekly status report meeting, try bimonthly status reports with virtual standups via Slack or email.
6. How often do we need progress updates if this is a recurring meeting?
If you are planning a recurring meeting, consider adding virtual aspects. For example, host a weekly status update via Slack to save time if you need a weekly status update.
7. Is there enough time to prepare?
A productive meeting requires preparation. Preparation for specific endeavors, such as brainstorming, is minimal. Recurring sessions generally require additional planning.
Once you know the type of conference, you can assess your team’s availability and choose a date. Being ready does not guarantee that your colleagues are prepared for their work at the same time. Everyone should have completed their tasks by the scheduled dates – and your weekly update should make that progress. You want to announce larger tasks a day in advance, so that everyone can prepare.
View team members’ calendars to see if they are available. Finally, ask your team how they can avoid missing events. Once they confirm, you are ready to proceed.
8. Do I have to invite everyone?
Jeff Bezos and most business leaders believe that the most productive sessions including eight people and the two pizza line. Your invitees can invite additional team members, but limit the core group to avoid unnecessary conversations.
9. What is everyone’s function in this meeting?
Once you’ve decided who to invite, it’s essential to know what each individual can contribute to the table. If the meeting needs specific data or insights, designate an appropriate participant to bring it. Again, you will save time by focusing on the current debate and not waiting for others to find information.
Assign tasks as a facilitator or note taker in advance. You learn to manage your time better and to look ahead.
10. Can the meeting take place via video call?
In many cases the answer is “yes”. Video conferencing allows remote participants to join the discussion and record for those unable to attend. In addition, video conferencing sessions are faster than audio-only meetings, making them more productive and inclusive.
11. When will we meet again?
When planning conferences, consider the time of others. Most meetings should last no longer than about 30 minutes. If you’re planning a long schedule, consider booking a one-hour meeting. First, though, you’ll need to review your plan to see how long these discussions will last.
Set the session timer to 30 minutes and only 45 or 60 minutes if the agenda articles are closely related. Longer meetings can involve a wide variety of tasks, which can confuse the participants. Better to have one topic or a better checklist for longer meetings.
It is better to schedule two shorter meetings than one large one. Remember to use our checklist before making a second appointment.
12. Is the plan clear?
Nothing is worse than an unprepared leader. The agendas provided in advance help the attendees to prepare constructive contributions. make one plan also helps you clarify your ideas about the project.
13. Is the meeting room A/V ready?
Last but not least, make sure the conference room is ready to use. Use our AV checklist to ensure that the room you use is immediately ready for video conferencing. Fifty-nine percent of remote workers say IT issues hinder meetings. Still, remote workers depend on these technologies to blend in well with the team.
More efficient sessions save time and money. Meetings in the past year have cost US companies $37 billion. You don’t want your company adding extra dollars to this total for your annual conference costs. Read more about meeting costs and the most OK video conferencing camera for your meeting location. So clear your agenda.
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you!
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- 1 Checklist for meetings
- 2 How often do we need status updates if this is a recurring meeting?
- 3 1. Is the problem urgent?
- 4 2. Do I want a dialogue or deliverables?
- 5 3. Who is the designated person responsible for my task?
- 6 4. How many ideas do I need when brainstorming?
- 7 5. Do we get together to discuss a new concept or project?
- 8 6. How often do we need progress updates if this is a recurring meeting?
- 9 7. Is there enough time to prepare?
- 10 8. Do I have to invite everyone?
- 11 9. What is everyone’s function in this meeting?
- 12 10. Can the meeting take place via video call?
- 13 11. When will we meet again?
- 14 12. Is the plan clear?
- 15 13. Is the meeting room A/V ready?