Chapter Two: Great Meeting Everyone!
Isn’t “great meeting” pretty much an oxymoron? To be fair, while meetings get plenty of well-deserved scorn I know productive meetings do exist. I attended one – once. Well, maybe twice.
Working in a virtual environment however, we’re unencumbered by common workplace habits such as unnecessary meetings, and their creepy distant cousin “interruptions,” which often frustrate productivity on the agency-side. To be clear, the key word here in “unnecessary.” By no means are we a “meeting-free” work zone. Every Monday morning we have a 30-minute Round Robin style team call to size up the week’s workload and discuss any company issues that need team input. When necessary, we team brainstorm sessions over the phone as well. And I have to tell you, not being locked in a fish bowl-sized room with flip charts, dry erase boards and squeaky out of ink markers stinking up the air has never negatively impacted our brainstorming sessions.
Back to unnecessary meetings. I think the lack of a shared physical space creates a natural meeting buffer. As a result, topics/issues that in an agency setting would trigger a meeting, everything from discussions about company policies and procedures to discussing new business tactics and strategies, are addressed out of necessity via the phone or email – and addressed more quickly yet just as thoroughly.
Look at these sobering stats* …
• 37% of employee time is spent in meetings
• 47% consider too many meetings the biggest waste of time
• 39% of meeting participants admitted to dozing off during a meeting
• Over 70% brought other work to meetings.
• It is estimated that 25%-50% of meeting time is wasted
• Researchers found that the more meetings employees attended, the more exhausted they felt and the higher they perceived their workload to be.
* www. meetingking.com
“But what about client meetings? What about new business pitches?” asks my hypothetical ad agency friend.
In all of the 15 years MarketMatch has been working wonders for its bank and credit union clients, none has ever said, “Geez, I wish you had an office space so I could take time out of my busy day and drive to and from your place for a meeting.” If clients want/need a meeting or we require a meeting with them, or if we are pitching a new piece of business, we do the driving, flying, teleporting (we’re working on it). Whatever it takes.
In terms of time suck potential, your basic day-to-day interruptions run a close second to meetings. When someone “pops in” with a question or to discuss XYZ, I would wager that in most cases a simple email would have sufficed. And why is this important? Because of conversation drift. You know how it goes. Lucius “pops in” to clarify a question he has regarding a project’s timeline, and 20 minutes later you’re both talking about which store’s parking lot you’re going to camp out in for Black Friday or who died on “Game of Thrones” last night – it’s always everybody, right? It’s the equivalent of water cooler gossip scaled down to a one-on-one format.
These efficiency gains—fewer meetings and interruptions—translate into better time management and a more dedicated focus on our work … your work.