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4 shortcuts to stop the gridlocked meeting habit

Posted by Paul Neefjes on 31 May, 2016

tips- to avoid-meeting-gridlock

Do you also wonder sometimes how you can spend less of your time in meetings? You aren’t the only one! Many organizations are examining smarter ways to work and meet. Some organizations have even decided to eliminate meetings all together. Instead, they align one-on-one. The Dutch clothing concern Zalando is an example of this. Abolishing meetings isn’t suitable for all organizations, but reducing them is a definite possibility. With the following tips you can find shortcuts to avoid the gridlocked meeting “habit.”


Tip 1: be critical

Weekly meetings: most organizations have them, but are they always necessary? If you examine the agenda for every recurring meeting, you can determine whether there are really enough topics to discuss. If there are too few subjects, ask first whether the meeting should even be held? Are there a few agenda points but some topics are absolutely essential to discuss? Then invite only those whose work is directly involved with that agenda point. That saves a lot of time for the colleagues who have no added value, and assures that the meetings run faster.


Tip 2: allow your colleagues to decide whether to attend

You can also choose to allow your associates to make the choice. Let them decide for themselves whether they have a significant contribution to add to the meeting. Never click on “accept” for a meeting invitation without thinking. First consider: is there a real point to your presence in this meeting? If you have relevant content to contribute, or themes on the agenda are essential for your work, of course you should go. If not, then it is better that you excuse yourself, providing sufficient notice and a valid reason. Do your colleagues suffer from “mindless accept syndrome”? This YouTube film will ring some bells, and will stimulate you and your colleagues, to get out of “automatic pilot” when it comes to accepting meeting invitations.


Tip 3: statistics don’t lie…

Statistics don’t lie, also when it comes to meetings! Did you know that 60 billion euro in salaries is spent on the total meetings in the Netherlands? 30 billion in the meeting time, 16 billion in preparation time and 14 billion in travel costs! Do you know how many hours your organization spends annually on meetings? The average hourly wage of the colleagues who meet frequently? With this data, you can calculate the salary costs of meetings. These statistics should help you and your colleagues to be more conscious of meeting time.


Tip 4: have more telephone/online conferences

The fourth tip for dynamic meetings? Spend less time in the conference room! By having more telephone or online conferences, you avoid some of the normal irritations such as latecomers and background chatting, while saving travel time and costs. How efficient is that?


Patience is a virtue...; Give it time...

Planning to embrace these tips? Great! Our last advice is: for optimal results, give yourself and your colleagues time to adjust. Old habits are hard to break and it takes time and cooperation from everyone. And just as with other adjustments: change begins at home. If you provide a good example and steady encouragement, it can have a snowball effect that will lead to major savings!

Would you like more tips to trim down your meetings? Download our checklist for effective meetings!

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Topic: Vergader technieken

iBabs is a leader in paperless meetings and enables you to reduce these piles of documents to the thickness of your tablet. Hundreds of organizations have been using this system for more than 15 years.

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