September 25, 2020
Meetings play an essential role in any successful business, whether they’re virtual or in-person. In fact, now that my team is working from home, our meetings have become more important than ever! In addition to providing an opportunity to discuss our work, they help us keep in touch and maintain our positive, supportive culture as a team.
Of course, a meeting is only as useful as you make it. A lot of leaders schedule an hour-long meeting and feel like they need to fill the entire time. But remember, you’re not holding a meeting to fill time; you’re holding a meeting to accomplish a task. Over the years, I’ve learned that ending meetings early is one of the best ways you can improve the quality of your meetings overall. Here’s why!
There are a lot of benefits to ending meetings early. First and foremost, it gives time back to your team! If you tie your employees up in meetings for hours on end, they’re not going to have the time they need to work effectively. That puts a lot of undue stress on them. But by ending your meetings early, you’ll give time back to your employees and allow them to focus on their most important tasks.
Long meetings are often a sign of a leadership team that is stuck in a cycle of micromanagement. You dictate every detail of a task for your team, and they become dependent on your input. Rather than feeling emboldened to do their work and come up with creative, innovative solutions, they wait for you to tell them exactly what to do. This stagnates the growth and development of your entire team. Instead, give them the project and the overall direction, and then trust your team to do their jobs. Your meetings will be shorter, and your team will be able to perform at their best.
When you keep your meetings short and sweet, you also encourage everyone to stay focused and engaged rather than goofing around. That’s not to say there’s no room for fun conversations. My team loves to joke around, which helps create a culture of positivity and friendship that allows everyone to thrive. But there’s a big difference between spending a few minutes making casual conversation and letting your entire meeting get off track. When your meeting is going off the rails, politely redirect your team’s attention back to the task at hand. You’ll get a lot more done, and you’ll save time doing it.
As a leader, it’s your job to set the example and show your employees what’s expected of them. That’s why it’s important to be punctual! Nothing is more frustrating than showing up to a meeting on time, only to have the person in charge roll in ten minutes late. Show your employees that you respect their time by being on time or early to your meetings. They’ll be encouraged to do the same. And best of all, you won’t just be respecting your employees’ time; you’ll be respecting your own.
Distractions are one of the biggest time-wasters not just in meetings, but in the workplace as a whole. This is another chance for you to set a good example! At the beginning of each meeting, remind your team to put their phones on silent, and make it a point to do the same. If you’re accustomed to keeping your phone in front of you at all times, place it on silent and avoid looking at non-urgent emails. If it’s not an emergency, it can wait until after the meeting!
My next post will have some tips to end your meetings early, so be sure to keep an eye out for it. In the meantime, take a second and let me know your thoughts on ending meetings early in the comments. I can’t wait to see what you think!