“This could have been an email.” Those six words can take an office’s breath away. They mean that time is wasted, employees are frustrated, and leadership has weakened slightly. Unjustified meetings are ineffective and annoying. Putting time randomly on colleagues’ calendars, only to clumsily with your purpose, doing it without instructions, or spending all your time talking to attendees instead of collaborating with them, affects everyone involved. Here, we’ll review some criteria to look for when deciding whether a meeting is worth everyone’s time, we’ll look at some definitive signs that a problem doesn’t warrant a meeting, and we’ll go over some of the most prominent and effective meeting alternatives.
When to have a meeting
The issue at hand is urgent and urgent.
If the information you need to convey is essential and limited by time, don’t think twice – book a meeting. You don’t want to risk sending a mass email about an urgent issue, only to be overlooked or ignored by some employees. Some things are necessary and cannot wait, and your response to those cases should reflect that kind of urgency. Don’t be too passive. Don’t count on your team members to get the information in their spare time. Book a meeting and convey those points.
You need a space for a thorough discussion and multiple perspectives.
Some problems require a degree of collaboration and thinking aloud. Those kinds of brainstorming sessions and general discussions justify real meetings. Spontaneous thinking and the flexibility for your team to brainstorm with each other is difficult to replicate through mediums like instant messaging or email. Collaborative meetings encourage creativity and critical thinking. If you feel like you need your team to immediately brainstorm on the fly and scoff at ideas in person, the best option is to arrange a meeting.
Decision making is at stake.
When the content of a potential meeting is of great importance, such as when it comes to “decisions that have significant implications for the future of the company,” it is necessary to bring everyone together. You cannot take these situations lightly. In these cases, stakeholders should know what is happening and have a forum to voice their concerns and provide feedback. An email chain, message board, or pre-recorded video presentation will not provide it.
When you don’t need a meeting
You don’t have a definitive agenda.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a meeting is going without a plan. Never organize a meeting. Simply walking in and trying to figure things out on the fly is frustrating and unpleasant for your team members; it is an unproductive waste of time. If you don’t make an agenda, you’re also undermining your ability to determine whether the issue at hand really deserves a meeting in the first place. When you take the time to organize your thoughts, concerns, and materials, you are giving yourself the opportunity to see the situation from a more objective perspective. With that kind of clarity and perspective, you can more carefully determine whether the information you need to convey is best suited for mass email, instant messaging, or any other format that uses less time and energy.
You don’t have all your information together.
This point is related to the previous one. If you are not fully prepared or the information you have gathered so far presents an incomplete picture of the current situation, it is best not to book a meeting. The most effective meetings are thorough, thoughtful, and provide practical guidance. If you only have one piece of the big picture, you probably won’t be able to definitely put your team on the right track, and you won’t be able to make up that time with everyone who is booked. If you have any information on hand that you think your team should know about. It is better that you contact them through a less personal and time-consuming means and let them know that you will soon have more information to offer.
The meeting is going to involve too many people.
If you find that your list of potential meeting attendees seems excessive, you may want to explore other options to obtain the information in question. Mass meetings are often unproductive and usually involve a considerable number of people who don’t really need to be there. If the meeting is going to be packed to the brim, you probably won’t see much organized and thoughtful discussion. Also, if so many people need to know what you need to say, it is probably more of a one-sided announcement than an issue that lends itself to focused collaboration. In most cases, that type of content is best suited for email.
<h2>Meeting alternatives</h2> Video presentations via email Instant messaging wikis and FAQ pages
Email may be the most prominent alternative to meetings. It is an excellent resource for less urgent and more general internal communications and announcements, information that does not necessarily require an immediate response. It allows you to easily spread your message while providing an opportunity for individual questions and thoughtful collaboration.
2. Video presentations
Pre-recorded video presentations can be a great way to convey information in a comprehensive and thoughtful way without bringing the team together. Resources like Loom They allow you to demonstrate, record messages, and provide updates that your team members can see for themselves, reducing friction and saving some time that a large-scale meeting could lose.
3. Instant messaging
Instant messaging is one of the best ways to replicate some of the more immediate and spontaneous aspects of a collaborative meeting. With these types of programs, you can receive quick responses from team members in real time. The format is best suited for quick questions and conversations that are not necessarily important enough to justify large-scale meetings.
4. Wikis and FAQ pages
Wikis and FAQ pages provide materials that address common questions and concerns that your team members might encounter. These means are also effective in the long term. By submitting information to a web page, you can offer your team a timeless point of reference for concerns and avoid unnecessary meetings in the future.
Quiz: Do you really need that meeting?
Meetings should be booked carefully and with intention. Your colleagues cannot make up that time, so know that you will be productive every time you join them. If you are considering setting aside time with your team, be sure to consider the items on this list. You don’t want to deal with the moaning and rolling eyes that come with a meeting that “could have been an email.”