Dear Aunty B
My business has 20 employees and is based in Newcastle. We’ve grown in terms of employee size quite quickly and now I seem to spend all my time managing my team and in back-to-back meetings. I feel like I’m hardly getting any chance to get anything done because of all these meetings. Not much gets achieved out of them. Is there a way I can shake things up while still keeping across everything that’s happening in my business.
I hate meetings with a passion so you have my sympathy. I’ve tried the lot from virtual meetings, to “stand up meetings” where everyone has to stand to keep things short to “walking meetings” where you take your meeting outside to pound the pavements.
They all work to an extent but the easiest tip for controlling meetings is to only hold them when you really have to. In Tacy Byham and Richard Wellin’s new book, Your First Leadership Job, the pair set out when NOT to hold a meeting.
These are the times you don’t need a meeting:
- You’re not certain about why you’re calling a meeting or the objectives you want to achieve.
- Your only purpose is to communicate information. Use a quick conversation, email or a noticeboard instead.
- A key person can’t make it. “You’re better off to cancel,” Byam and Wellin say. “If you don’t you can rest assured that you’ll need to start over again.”
- You only need a few people to accomplish the meeting goal but a dozen people are in the meeting. “This is not only inefficient, but it makes others wonder why they were invited,” Byam and Wellin says.
- A decision has already been made or needs to be made quickly.
Most importantly, even if a meeting is necessary, ask yourself if it’s really essential that you’re part of it. “The more you can trust others who work for you to meet themselves, the better off you’ll be,” Byam and Wellin say.
And I’d advise you to use all that extra time I have freed up from meetings to get home early this evening for a celebratory G&T.