Collaboration and communication are both hallmarks of successful teams. Just because your team is communicative, however, that doesn’t mean you have to turn every discussion into a formal meeting. In fact, a burdensome meeting culture can drain your team’s productivity while simultaneously sapping morale.

Here at Corovan, we love having video conferences with our teams, but also strive to avoid scheduling calls when a simple Teams message would suffice. Indeed, one of the best ways to mitigate your meeting culture is to recognize some of the situations in which scheduling a meeting may not be necessary or appropriate.

4 Scenarios When Meetings Aren’t Needed

1. Nobody is responsible.

First and foremost, remember that just because a person sends out a meeting invite, that doesn’t mean they are a stakeholder in the meeting; it doesn’t mean they are assuming responsibility to run it; and it certainly doesn’t mean they have a clear set of objectives.

With every meeting, it should be clear who is ultimately responsible for it and what their goals for the meeting are. If there is a lack of clarity about those things, then the meeting probably doesn’t need to happen.

2. It’s just a routine check-in.

Some organizations call meetings just to allow teams the opportunity to “check in” or to disseminate some very basic information.

Often, these information dumps can be easily summarized in an email or a Teams message, ensuring everyone is on the same page without cutting into anybody’s work day with a scheduled meeting.

A meeting may be needed if there’s information that requires a lot of explanation, or if you need to boost the team’s buy-in. But for more minor and straightforward updates, look beyond the meeting format.

3. The meeting could be a conference.

Have you ever been stuck in a meeting that has a dozen or more attendees, but only two people who are actually invested in the issue or have anything to say?

There’s no need to conscript your entire team into being the audience for a one-on-one conference. These interactions should be left between the parties involved, rather than turned into full-team events.

4. There is no agenda.

Finally, be aware that scheduling a meeting is sometimes perceived as a real action item, a way to advance progress toward team goals… but simply having a meeting doesn’t really mean anything. Meetings only matter if there is a clear agenda provided in advance.

If nobody knows what specific outcomes the meeting is meant to generate, or what structure the meeting should take, then it’s probably not a meeting that actually needs to be convened.

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Reduce Your Reliance on Meetings

It’s good for teams to enjoy some facetime and some collaboration sometimes, but it’s equally good to minimize your reliance on time-intensive meetings. Rethink your culture surrounding meetings, and look for ways to make your meetings more strategic and purposeful. With any questions about optimizing workplace productivity, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Corovan directly.