Are there meetings you or your team could do without? And are there email streams that would have been more efficiently managed with a phone call, a quick meeting or an online chat?

Should it be a meeting, an email or a chat?

We’ve all been in at least one of those meetings… you know, the ones that should have been an email. Or the email stream that goes back and forth cc-ing and distracting 10 different people over the course of an afternoon, that should have been a 5 minute zoom meeting.

Finding the right balance between zooms, phone calls, chats, texts, in person meetings (do we still do those?) is key to efficiency within your business.

The question of what should be a meeting – and what shouldn’t – can often be circumvented by setting regular, mandatory attendance team, department and project team meetings.

If you are going to schedule a meeting, always state the purpose of the meeting in the calendar invite and include further information if possible. And, as a modern approach, include a Zoom or Teams link for the meeting – even if most the team will be in the office that day.

Keeping meetings on track is best achieved with an agenda – and that doesn’t have to be a traditional agenda. Using your team’s project management and task list tool (e.g. Teamwork, Trello, Asana) as the run sheet for a meeting, can be an effective way to ensure that the critical items are covered.

In some cases, a traditional agenda is necessary. Consider this – instead of listing out topics, pose the questions you want answered in the meeting. This will ensure interaction, which is why you called the meeting in the first place. If you don’t have any questions to ask, then you may not need a meeting.

What you should be doing

  • Establishing regular, consistent meeting cycles, e.g. Monday morning weekly team meeting, Tuesday morning weekly Project X meeting, Wednesday morning fortnightly Department meeting.
  • Create an ‘agenda’ – whether that be a traditional layout or using your project management tool
  • Sharing an online meeting link, even you plan to be in the office that day.

What not to do

  • Set a meeting without an agenda or without questions that need to be answered in that meeting.
  • Don’t play a match of email tennis that has a that cc’s five other people – pickup the phone, or call a meeting.