Not every meeting needs to be a meeting. Some cold have just been emails or even a quick message. Before you schedule (or attend!) a meeting, ask yourself these four questions to determine if it will really be worth your time.
Photo by Jim Larrison
Business blog Harvard Business Review knows a thing or two about unnecessary meetings. While meetings feel productive because everyone’s in the same room talking about the project, they inherently get in the way of actually doing anything. So, HBR suggests, before you call for a meeting, ask these questions:
Have I thought through this situation?
Do I need outside input to make progress
Does moving forward require a real-time conversation?
Does this necessitate a face-to-face meeting?
If you answer “No” to any of these questions, then a different course of action could be taken first. If you haven’t thought given yourself time to think through a situation, schedule a block of brainstorming time before you take up someone else’s. If you don’t real-time communication, try an email. Meetings are a useful tool when they’re actually necessary, but if you’re just going to waste an hour talking about things you could easily answer on your own or with an instant message, your productivity comes out at a net loss.
Of course, not every meeting is necessarily your choice. If your boss is the one who’s scheduled a meeting and you’re not sure if it’s really important, ask if there’s an alternative way you can give your input. You may find that your boss will be just as fine getting an email from you as they would having you sit in a room for an hour.