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Three Tips to Reduce Unnecessary Meetings

We spend way too much time in meetings, often at the cost of accomplishing real work. Since using Meeting Cost Calculator, we have been search for ways to reduce our meeting foot print. Here’s some of our tried and true tactics to reduce meetings by 42% and increase productivity by 28%.

Using Project Tools for Updates

Tools like Excel, Notion, Asana, Trello, etc, are under utilized, despite their popularity. We often use them to direct meetings, but not to prevent meetings. The main reason we have routine syncs is to provide opportunities for questions and to create habits of updating key stakeholders in a timely fashion. We found that if we are diligent on updating asynchronously, it is much easier to update in this fashion and then use asynchronous communication like slack or email for questions. If a deeper dive is needed, we hop on an adhoc call. This has reduced our update meetings by 70%.

Asynchronous Video Updates

Tools like Loom are amazing for reducing meetings. They allow you to record short video updates or presentations and drop them in an email or slack. We use this to reduce calls to teach someone something or for asynchronous demos. It’s also great to have the video resource to send when the next person has the same question as well.

Keeping the Team Focused

Oftentimes in meetings, tangential items are brought up that spin a side conversation. If these are not dealt with swiftly, they often spiral meetings, eating up 5-15 minutes of precious time that could be used to accomplish the primary meeting goal on time. If you see a conversation spiral, it’s good to call out that this is tangential, but instead of just ending it, offer for the related party to solve it via some sort of asynchronous communication. This helps the concerned parties feel heard, but keeps things moving forward. We’ve been ending meetings early because of this, and still solving the tangential problem with less people involved.

Each of these alternatives has its strengths and weaknesses, the best choice will depend on you and the habits you create with your team. We highly recommend you start introducing these tools into your life and get Meeting Cost Calculator to help you realize just how expensive those meetings are. It will really motivate your team to put in the effort for best practices.

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