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What we learned from 2021: The 60-minute meeting should die.

3 ways to kill it and increase productivity.

Increasing productivity in 2022 isn’t as hard as you think.

What would your team be able to accomplish with an hour back in their day? Would they take the opportunity to work on that OKR initiative that’s been sitting in their inbox for more than a month, spend a little time thinking through how to reward team members for next quarter, or maybe step away from their computers in time for lunch or even dinner.

We all face daunting limitations when it comes to time, budget, and allocated resources and the average manager spends over 50% of their time in meetings.

Even more frightening than the hours spent in meetings is that the majority of meetings every month are considered unproductive. Harvard surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.

71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. Imagine what you could do with less meeting on your calendar and those extra hours back to focus on the business?

It’s time to evaluate meetings with an eye towards which ones are producing results, versus the meetings that simply take time without adding value.

Open your calendar now and ask yourself these questions about each meeting:

Why was this scheduled?

Being thoughtful about how and when you host a meeting will make you think twice about whether you should call for a meeting in the first place. Meetings are scheduled to create a catalyst for decision-making, and to allow for feedback and discussion. It isn’t to similarly share information. The meeting becomes unproductive when there is no information to impart, decision to make, or feedback to give, but often the meeting still occurs.

The reason for a meeting to occur is usually a logical one. However, you are in control. It’s up to you to decide if it needs to happen. Think through if there are other ways to accomplish what you need to without hosting a meeting.

Are there other ways to achieve the goal without a meeting?

Hint: Asynchronous video.

Maybe the meeting doesn’t need to happen at all? Asynchronous video/video on demand as a precursor can shorten a meeting to 20 minutes. Give the gift of time back to your colleagues. They will apprciate it more than you know, and you’ll like it too.

Was the purpose of the meeting to share team progress on OKRs, give an update on the website, or dashboard? Just think if you could give context for the meeting in a short video prior, include an agenda and then use the time in the meeting to discuss, debate, and ensure a decision is reached. This will ensure if you do need to host the meeting that the meeting has impact across the team and that decisions get made.

Now if a decision isn’t needed and it is only an update, what about sending an asynchronous video instead of having a meeting? For example, share your content and then seek questions or input via Slack or other internal communication channels. Your colleagues can consume the video on their own time. What a way to give back time, and still ensure your message is heard. Plus, if someone isn’t available to attend the meeting, you can share the asynchronous video beyond the attendees.

What isn’t getting accomplished because of meetings?

What is the actual opportunity cost of hosting a meeting? What was your response to the opening question of this blog post: Imagine what your team might be able to accomplish with an hour back in their day? What about 2 hours or 3?

One of the hardest things we do as leaders is prioritize our time, and help our teams prioritize theirs. We must remember to schedule our prioritizes, not to prioritize what’s in our schedule.

The reduction in the number of meetings on your calendar and the increased capacity to address more strategic initiatives (or get home in time to enjoy dinner with your family) does not have to be short-lived. Continue to ask these questions, not just about existing meetings, but whenever a new meeting is proposed.

Over time your colleagues will not only start to think about the responses before sending you a new meeting request, but they will also begin to look at their own calendars with that same critical eye and begin to set their priorities and not let their calendar’s do it for them.

What started as you trying to gain back time in your day, and create additional productivity for your teams, will change the company culture. Just by asking three questions before scheduling a meeting!

Qumu has been making video smarter with its video engagement platform serving the Fortune 500 and Tech 1000. Qumu has committed to a 100% remote workforce that works from wherever, whenever, forever. Qumu recently refreshed its brand to better reflect its commitment to bringing value to video content. 

Rose Bentley is Chief Operating Officer at Qumu Corporation

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