Let’s be clear here; Most people keep meetings at arm’s length – they are too frequent, unbearably boring and exhaustive, tend to run for what seems like centuries, and don’t really accomplish much of anything. In For me, it’s just a bunch of freshly-refueled-after-the-weekend employees, pompously seated around a round table every Monday morning, planning out far-fetched strategies with a zest, and making long-haul promises and suggestions for the week ahead that nobody is going to remember after the morning coffee.
It’s no wonder that I suspect many of our remote employees put their conference calls on mute and clandestinely check out. I wonder if there’s ever a best time to plan your meetings, so that they don’t seem so exhaustive?
So, When is the Best Time to Plan your Meetings?
The problem doesn’t just lie with meetings themselves; researchers have it that the real problem with meetings is when they are usually held: Monday mornings. Well, it makes perfect sense; it’s the start of the week so why not join heads, plan out the week, and make sure everyone’s on the same page?
However Lynn Taylor, author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” says otherwise. The author argues that employees are the most productive on Monday mornings, so and you do nothing more than disrupt their concentration and motivation by bogging down their minds with exhaustive meetings.
She says that after being away from work for a day or two, these back-to-work mornings set the tone for the rest of the week. Not to mention, many employees catch a bad case of “Mondayitus” and are likely to call in absent on Mondays, so your team meetings won’t see a large turnover.
According to a study conducted by YouCanBookMe, a U.K.-based scheduling firm, the best time to plan your meetings is on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. The team analyzed data from more than two million responses to 530,000 meeting invitations, and deemed it the perfect time, since it is neither too late in the week, nor too early in the morning. If 2:30 p.m. on the dot wont work for you, then mid-week, mid-afternoon meetings will also suffice.
How to Make the Most of Your Meetings?
Time is one of the most precious commodities, especially for start-ups. This is why CEOs of fortune 500 use something known as the “B.L.U.F” approach, or the bottom line-up front approach, when it comes to meetings. B.L.U.F. helps you decide what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who will do it. Here’s how to use this approach effectively if you are looking to supercharge your meetings:
Decide A category for your meeting
- Informational: Such meetings are organized to keep the team updated on a new topic or to make an announcement. This helps ensure that all your team members are on the same page. However, such meetings are still actionable in some way.
- Decision-taking: Everytime something new comes up, this type of meeting needs to be organized to figure out what actions need to be taken. Make sure you keep the meeting down to 3-5 people, otherwise as they say, too many cooks spoil the broth.
- Discovery: This type of meeting helps to solve problems and come up with potential solutions.
- Brainstorming: This type of meeting is the most fun. For these creative sessions, if you want to garner the best ideas and solutions, it’s recommended to go offsite, out of people’s habits, routines, and comfort zones. Having more participants ensure that people get more room to bounce off ideas and feed each other’s creative side.
The 45-minute rule
Deciding the duration of a meeting is another story. One-hour meetings only drag things endlessly since people love to talk and the more time off their desks they get, the better. On the other hand, a half hour is too short when the initial five to seven minutes are drowned in small talk. Here’s where we hit the sweet spot at 45-minutes. In that time, try coming up with solutions that are 80 percent right and 100 percent executable.
Provide an Agenda in Advance
If you have got material for the meeting that you would like people to review beforehand, give them at least two to three days to prepare. Having to explain everything from scratch and breezing through presentation slides together as a group can only waste time.
Close the Meeting with action
As the B.L.U.F approach has it, you have to be clear about what you are expecting from the meeting. Similarly, as a leader, you have to ensure that you close the meeting with an actionable plan, instead of carrying over in the next meeting. Before they disconnect from the conference call or walk out that door, everyone must know what they are supposed to do, how they are supposed to do it, and by when.
Is it even a meeting?
If there’s something going on in the workplace that you would like to get to the bottom of, it is more prudent to just stop by someone’s office unannounced instead of holding a “meeting” for it. By catching people off guard, you are more likely to hear the unrehearsed, non-fabricated version of it.