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- Reducing interruptions
- Dealing with feeling overwhelmed
- Responding to quick questions
- Making the most of meetings
- Following up
- Implementing a closed door, open calendar policy
Skill Level Appropriate for all
- Meetings, they're designed to help us be more productive, right? If we get everyone together and we sit down and we collaborate, then everyone will be on the same page and all of us will know what to do, right? The problem is, meetings are used far too frequently. How can you and I reduce the frequency of meetings while still being a supportive coworker or leader? Meetings are like a double edged sword. They can help you be more productive, but they can also kill your productivity.
Here are a few questions that you can ask someone else when a meeting is proposed. Now, you may or may not be comfortable with all of these questions. Feel free to take what I present to you and put them into your own words in a way that you're comfortable with. Question number one, can we handle this issue without having a meeting? This question prompts creative thinking. Rather than defaulting to we need to have a meeting, instead, default to can we do this without a meeting? What might we do instead? Could we collaborate on a shared document online? Can we discuss this via email? And if we absolutely must have this meeting, can we execute it in a very efficient way? Can we meet via phone, or can we make sure that it's a stand up meeting? In other words, having a meeting shouldn't be the first place that we go.
It should be the last place that we go and we want to minimize how much time we spend in meetings. Question two, do we need to discuss and collaborate or do we need to just delegate and calendar? In a situation where a group of people need to discuss what we're going to do and collaborate together, and come up with ideas together, then a meeting likely makes sense. However, so many meetings become nothing more than a calendaring session where things are delegated out and we're checking to make sure that people are on schedule.
In this situation, we often don't need to have a meeting. It's probably better handled through email or through project management software that will be much more efficient and won't be so interruptive to people in the middle of their workday. Question three, if this is just about training, can it be delivered via video? We live in an age of online training and video. It's an amazing thing. Right now, you're getting instruction from me and I didn't have to get on a plane and leave my home in Utah to come personally and share this with you.
Yet, for some reason, in a workplace context, we often feel that whenever we have a training, everyone needs to get up out of their desk and go into someone's room. While there are situations where that makes sense, I've seen many leaders deliver training via video very effectively. For example, they get in front of a webcam and they set up a recording session where they walk people through the training and then ask for questions via email afterward.
I find tools like Camtasia or Snagit are very effective for creating quick, brief trainings that you can send out to a lot of people. This allows team members to digest it on their own schedule rather than being interrupted. The key though is, if you do this, make sure that there's a deliverable, something that they need to do, and there's a clear due date by which they need to complete that action. Finally, you can ask the question does attending this meeting support my most valuable activity? Or, if you're a manager, does attending this meeting support my team members' most valuable activity? We can focus our work time on a variety of activities, but only two types of activities are most valuable.
The things that are worth the most per hour to you and to the company. For example, let's say that your most valuable activities are developing marketing and creating training programs. If attending the meeting doesn't directly support these two most valuable activities, perhaps it's better for you to just get the minutes of the meeting or get a recording of it afterward just to check in and see if it helps support what you do best. Consider the next meeting you have on your schedule and ask these four questions I shared to discover if this meeting is the best possible use of your time.
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A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.