Stop having meetings for the wrong reasons
Do you need another meeting? Probably not.
I've been in a lot of meetings. Some have been great, most have been boring, and too many have been pointless and bordering on disaster. I've noticed a few themes in the meetings that are boring and disastrous, so I thought I would share them for a moment.
Don't set a meeting because you can't find the time.
I've seen many leaders do this. They are so busy they can't find time to work on something deeper. Instead of blocking out their time to work on it, they set a meeting with a group and use that as a working session. They want to do something but can't because they are inundated with meetings and responsibilities. Every time they have a moment to work on something, another meeting gets booked. So, they set yet another meeting to block the time to get things done. The problem with this approach is the team doesn't need to be there, so their time is wasted.
A better approach is to practice time blocking. Block out a time on the calendar to work deeply on a task that needs attention and guard that time as if it is a meeting with the Pope. That will give you enough time to think deeply, come up with ideas, make notes, and come back to your team with a thoughtful approach and next steps.
Don't set a meeting to figure out what you want.
I confess this has been me too many times. I want to think through something, and rather than gathering information and sitting still to ponder it, I call a team meeting and think out loud. My team rolls their eyes, endures my misguided attempt at productivity, and then returns to real work once I'm satisfied.
A better approach is to gather the details I need, marinate on them, give them the depth of thought they deserve, and make notes. After that, a call with the team will help to solidify the direction and identify the next steps we will take as a team.
Don't set a 30-minute meeting because you are unwilling to write a 10-minute email.
Ok, I've been this guy too, more often than I'd like to admit. I don't like writing long, detailed emails. I find digging into the details frustrating, and taking the time to really communicate well just takes so much time! I would rather have a 30-minute meeting to knock something out, even though a detailed email would be more than enough. Remember that the least invasive form of communication that offers clear, complete understanding is best.
A better approach is to force myself to write an email with the thoughtfulness and care I would use to write a blog post. Every email doesn't have to live up to this standard, but the important ones do. The key is to slow down and ask, "does this need to be a meeting, or will a great email suffice?" If your answer to having a meeting isn't "it's essential," then go with the email.
Great leadership reading from this week
If You Use These 5 Phrases in an Email, You Sound Passive Aggressive
I’ve seen all of these in emails with professionals. They annoyed me every time.
20 Templates to Say No to Just About Everything (Nicely) So You Can Get Your Focus Back
The key to getting things done is ruthlessly saying no. Here are some templates to help you say no, so you don’t have to feel guilty about it.
How to Help an Employee Who Struggles with Time Management
Time management is challenging, and time management in a virtual workspace is even more challenging. This article has some great tips to help you help your team.
Other great reading from this week
Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work
Well, this is depressing. I always thought plastic was great to use because I threw it in the recycle bin. That may not be the case after all.
Think You Have a Great Idea? Ask These 6 Questions to Gain Perspective.
I needed this. I have so many ideas and not enough time to act on them.
To Make Quality Decisions, You Need to Know Where You Want to Go
Taking the time to think about where you want to end up is critical. I need to spend more time with this; I bet you do too.
A Huge New Study Reveals Most of Us Are Terrible at Choosing How We Spend Our Free Time
Here is the quote to know from this article. “Out of 27 possible leisure activities listed by the researchers' app, "texting, email, and social media" came in dead last in terms of happiness. Just slightly above it was browsing the internet. The only activities people liked less than being online were things like commuting, being sick in bed, and dealing with admin or finances.” Wow!
Great podcast episodes from this week
Truthers: Tiffany Dover is Dead - This podcast captivated me. I listened to all four episodes in less than 24 hours. This podcast series is from NBC News and covers the conspiracy theory that a nurse who fainted from the Covid vaccine actually died, and it was covered up. Spoiler alert, she didn’t die, but the coverage of how things go viral and spin out of control is fascinating.
My Podcasts to check out
Tech Talk Y'all - My tech/comedy news podcast.
Real Pink - I host the national podcast for Susan G. Komen. If you want some inspiration or information about breast cancer, give it a listen.
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