Remote work has made us re-examine our work priorities, especially when it comes to how much time we spend in meetings. We have all, at one time or another been victimised by useless meetings. We used to spend hours sitting around conference rooms, trapped in planning sessions or budget discussions that had no end in sight. Many of us can also attest to responding to meetings that were resolved in a matter of minutes. 

The dynamics of online meetings are forcing us to rethink how we coordinate and communicate with our colleagues and our clients. In a traditional work setting, no one would blink when they received a meeting for a one-hour discussion. Nowadays, video conferences longer than thirty minutes are not only mentally draining; they tend to be unproductive as well.

The next time you gear up to send a meeting invite for a meeting within your organisation, you might want to ask yourself these five essential questions to make sure your efforts don’t go to waste:

1. What is the purpose of the meeting?

When you call for a meeting, you need to know what you want to get out of it. Do you want to gather feedback? Do you need to secure a decision from your stakeholders? Is this a weekly or monthly update? Decide on the purpose, and it will influence your decision on how long the meeting will be and who you need to invite.

2. Should I send an email instead?

A lot of issues can be resolved by emails and one-on-one discussions. While nothing can take the place of face-to-face interaction, some things just don’t need several heads involved. Sometimes, e-mails and written communication are more effective at providing clarity and avoiding conflict. You can take the time to read the request, process your thoughts, review reference material, and craft a carefully-worded response.

3. Have I invited the right people?

When you call for a meeting, you need to consider who you are inviting. Is it time to involve your boss at this stage in the discussion? Is it appropriate to have the client present? Have you consulted the right people within your organisation? Limiting your attendees can ensure the meeting stays on track and respecting other’s time by not involving them if they don’t have to be there.

4. Did I give participants enough time to prepare?

Meeting organisers also need to give attendees time to prepare. Preparation is the key to productive meetings. You can send the agenda beforehand and clarify your expectations. Discussing the desired output during the meeting itself will only garner you “I’ll get back to you,” or “I will check on that,” responses, and subsequent follow-up meetings that will eat up even more time.

5. Who is responsible for tracking output?

When your meeting objectives are clear, you or someone you appoint should take charge of keeping people accountable for their output. You can use meeting notes software to record and monitor your progress, or you can initiate following through on each person’s commitments. You can say that a meeting is productive when each participant reverts with feedback and action within an agreed timeframe.

What constitutes a justifiable meeting will differ for each organisation. What is essential for a gathering to be productive is to think carefully about the reasons that motivate your meetings.  Meetings don’t always solve problems, and in fact, they can induce new ones. They are simply a method of communication that is often misused and exploited.

Are you looking for ways to improve your team’s productivity? Streamline your tasks with meeting note software to keep track of discussions, duties, and commitments. Send us a message and find out what Thena can do for your business.


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