Unless you are very lucky (or just very young), you've most likely given up precious hours of your life to meetings that either ran way too long, or didn't need to happen in the first place.
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The goal of brainstorming is to find possible solutions to a problem, but the process often becomes a platform for the outspoken, who offer the same perspective time and time again. Instead, ask everyone to generate more questions about the problem so you get a better understanding of what it really is. This counterintuitive method from Hal Gregersen, the executive director of the MIT Leadership Center, gets everyone thinking and participating, and can turn a lacklustre brainstorming session into something far more effective.
The only thing worse than going to meetings is scheduling them. You have to check with everyone's availability, find a time and location that works, send out an invitation, and then bug people until they RSVP. It actually takes about 17 minutes to schedule a single meeting, according to x.ai, a company focused on solving the issue with artificial intelligence.
Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Jack Zhang, co-founder and CEO of cross-border payment platform Airwallex.
You never want a meeting dominated by a single person. Sure, it's important someone takes charge to guide the discussion. But the point of a meeting is collaboration and if there's no exchange of ideas, no criticism, then something's gone wrong. However, all it takes is the right words and tone if you need to interject, without coming off as impolite.
We're all guilty of it: the boss calls a team meeting during a busy time of the day. While you're waiting for things to get started, you surreptitiously check your email. Then you start replying. Before you know it, the meeting is in full swing and you're only half-listening as you continue to "multitask" on your phone or laptop. According to business website Entrepreneur, this is a terrible habit that we all need to break.
"I've been giving it some thought," I said in a team meeting at one of my previous jobs, "And I really think the partner listings on our website would function better if we -- " "Let me jump in," interjected one of my co-workers, before I was even able to finish my thought and put my idea out on the table.
Whether you host or just have to attend regular meetings, you can make them more efficient by clarifying the type of meeting it is. You'll get everyone on the same page, your meeting will be more productive and you'll spend the time talking about what's important.
We've established that Tuesdays are the most productive day of the week, so it makes sense that a meeting on Tuesday would be best for a productive, useful meeting. And right after lunch is the best time. Tuesdays, 2:30PM local time, is your ideal time, based on a survey that collected over two million responses.
Few things irritate office workers more than booking a meeting right over lunch. Sure, it may be the only time most people's calendars are open, but that's probably because everyone's trying to get out of the office and have a meal. The solution is simple: don't schedule lunch meetings unless you're buying lunch.