Meetings - we all need to have them. Whether they’re in-person or virtual, meetings are a crucial part of everybody’s day-to-day work for updates, inspiration, and collaboration! But, for some of us, meetings can be something that we dread rather than look forward to. “Meeting Fatigue” can cause us to see meetings as a chore, which then creates disengagement and a negative connotation of what a successful meeting can look like!
Covid-19 brought to the surface how important it is for companies and managers to have structures for their meetings, as Zoom Fatigue became a phenomenon that affected many of us around the world. It brought to light how meetings (particularly continuous virtual ones) impacted anxiety and overall well-being. The same can be said for in-person meetings, too.
Although it’s largely down to meeting organisers to ensure that they’re successful and engaging, you also play a key part in managing your diary and ensuring that you aren’t overwhelmed or packed out with meetings that may not all be relevant to you.
Here are our top 5 tips on how to manage your meetings better to ensure that you’re getting the most out of them!
1. Assess what the meeting is going to be about and how it impacts you
What is the agenda? Who is running the meeting? How long is it going to be? What do you need to prepare? Knowing what you’re going into and how it directly impacts you ensures that you’ll be able to perform your best in the meeting as well as understand what you’re going to get from it at the end. Of course, some meetings such as highlighting what you’re working on for the week are self-explanatory - but meatier meetings should have a clear-cut agenda for attendees, no matter how regular they are.
2. Know when it’s time to leave, and communicate this with your manager
Not all meetings should require you to stay until the end (unless explicitly told to by your manager). If you’re simply providing an update, and other updates in the meeting don’t directly affect you, then it should be common sense to leave the meeting earlier instead of wasting your time listening to conversations that have no impact on you.
3. If the meeting is premature, move it!
It’s a Monday morning and you’re looking at your agenda for the week - and you see a meeting in there that is probably one or two weeks premature. You have two options in this scenario - if both of you are prepared and have time that week to do the meeting early, then honour it. But, if neither, nor one of you isn’t completely prepared, then it’s not going to be a successful meeting and will probably need a do-over the following week. Know when a meeting is premature and have the confidence to move it.
4. Respect your timings/calendar and don’t feel bad about it
If a meeting is booked for 30 minutes, then it should only be 30 minutes long. If a meeting is an hour, it should only be an hour long. Be stringent with your time and communicate your boundaries at the beginning of the meeting.
If you have a hard stop - honour that and don’t move your whole calendar around because someone is late or can’t stick to deadlines. If someone is over 10 minutes late and you know that the meeting won’t be productive, use the time to reschedule and communicate this.
5. If a meeting feels continuously unnecessary, voice your feedback
There will be times in your career when you’ll leave a mandatory meeting (probably on multiple occasions) and ask yourself “What was the point of that?” It’s important that if you feel like this for an extended period, you start to write down and gather evidence as to why you feel the meeting is unnecessary for you.
Voicing your feedback is crucial, as simply refusing to turn up can cause friction in the workplace. However, explaining your concerns can leave room for improvement for the meeting, or, it’ll enable you to stop attending with a valid reason.
In summary, meetings can be an incredible tool for collaboration and ultimately add a lot of value to your professional career - but, you need to be in control of your time and be confident enough to communicate this.