It’s not entirely accurate to say that meetings are dead or even that they’re dying because even if they’re losing public favor in the foreseeable future, they’re never going to go away completely. But we see a massive reduction in the number of meetings held, the length of those meetings, and the number of participants included. Public attitudes about meetings are changing dramatically.
Meetings and Time Waste
Meetings waste time in almost every scenario, for one reason or another, and Americans are starting to wake up to that reality. More than two-thirds of American workers claim that too much time at meetings is distracting, preventing them from fulfilling their core responsibilities. And the participants in the discussions feel that as much as a third of the meeting’s total time is a complete waste, exacerbated by time loss.
Several factors compound this waste of time problem. There are more than 11 million meetings a day, and in many organizations, meetings are held on even the smallest issues. Each session includes multiple participants, multiplying the person-hours necessary to carry it out, and, in many cases, these participants are unnecessary. And, of course, extra-long meetings further multiply all these factors.
New Types of Meetings
In some ways, meetings are changing rather than dying. They are increasingly benefiting from strategies such as:
Better proactive planning
Team leaders must be organized and have a vision if they are to hold a successful meeting. This means starting each session with a clear plan and a list of goals to be achieved.
Adding more people to a meeting usually increases its complexity and increases the amount of time it wastes. As a result, many teams are transitioning to include fewer participants.
Limited timing and frequency
And in one of the most straightforward changes, meetings are starting to grow shorter, less frequent, and, ultimately, more customized.
What Could Replace Meetings?
Meetings are at the heart of successful companies. They’ve been around since time immemorial. And yet, many sessions remain inefficient and time-loss. Meetings need to be improved at best. Any meeting that cannot be truncated or improved must be replaced. But what might replace the interactive potential of a traditional meeting?
There are a few potential models:
Trust and autonomy
An easy way to eliminate many meetings is to give your staff more trust and autonomy. If they have the power to make their own decisions and achieve their own goals, they won’t have to check in with a boss twice a day. In many cases, team huddle and daily check-in style meetings can easily be replaced by a simple email with a punchy subject at the beginning.
Chat channels have many advantages over meetings. They are recorded, less urgent, and can occur in the background throughout the day. For instance, slack has more than 12 million daily active users.
Some companies now don’t rely on email, meetings, and other office communication forms in favor of social and blog based communication channels. These allow conversations to occur both publicly and privately, with real-time commentary from coworkers and an organization’s intuitive system.
Over the next few years, you are likely to start enjoying the benefits of reduced meetings and more efficient forms of communication. And if you’re in charge of organizing a team meeting, consider jumping on this trend. Now is the perfect time to revise your communication strategy and take advantage of more efficient collaboration channels.