As a whole, SMBs typically aren’t aware of how costly unnecessary meetings are. In fact, studies reveal that an estimated $37B a year across all industries is spent on salaries of those who feel their time is being wasted in meetings. With marketing and sales becoming increasingly complicated, more meetings are required for design, editorial, web development, project management and to simply stay on the same page across teams.

Unless you’re a, “solo-preneur” internal meetings are inevitable. Thankfully, with a few meeting hacks, your team will spend less time talking and more time increasing productivity which will elicit better outcomes for every project you collaborate on.

Get to know your team

Whether you hired them or inherited them, your team is the most important asset for driving successful project outcomes. As the leader, it’s critical to understand motivators at individual levels. Some of us respond well in a time crunch or a crisis. Others require structure, rules of engagement and planning in order to thrive. A team that embraces diverse personalities often ends up with a better outcome through collaboration but to gain that edge it’s important to know how to deliver information in ways the team resonates with. If you haven’t yet, have a one-to-one conversation with each person on your team to better understand their communication and working styles.

Make it productive or don’t schedule it

Nobody wants to walk into a meeting braced to waste time on something they feel doesn’t align with their job role or expertise. If you’re the one setting the meeting or leading a team of people who will be setting meetings, make an agreement not to waste time. Look at the project team list – does every person need to be present? If so, great, invite them all. If not, spare those folks from the drudgery of sitting through one more meeting that leaves them feeling ineffective.

Timing. Timing. Timing.

Much of the research points to one truth: it’s important to keep meetings as short as possible. Convey a message or get the feedback you need in 30-minutes or less; that’s the strategy you should work towards. Also (and this goes back to knowing your team) if you’re working with creative folks, for instance, designers, marketers and developers who work remotely, be aware of their time zones and learn which times of day are most productive for meetings so you’re not inadvertently cutting into creative time needed for the project. If the team is scattered or can’t agree on times that work for everyone, follow what the research says: early morning and after lunch are the best times and the end of the day is the worst.

Shoot for the moon but reach for the next galaxy

When projects are in the idea phase, gather the team and get as much input as possible even if the ideas seem outlandish or unrelated. Most teams have a plethora of ideas to bring and leaders should support the sharing and vetting of all of them. To save time at the actual meeting, ask for ideas in advance so your team is prepared to share upon arrival. Then, turn to the entire group to analyze, deconstruct and rejigger those ideas into projects that will enhance the project’s success.

If a team can save even a small fraction of the time spent in meetings, it will add up to more revenue saved, more timely projects and better customer satisfaction. If you have any meeting hacks you’d like to share please contact us.

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