URGENT: How to Hold an Important Meeting in 15 Minutes
We have this innate belief that the longer it takes to do something, the better it is. It’s also a very old trait in cultures that are built on achievement, progress, pride, and shame. East Asian cultures, for example, often believe intrinsically that good things must come from pain. If something didn’t hurt, it probably isn’t very valuable.
While struggle can create something beautiful, it’s not an efficient process. It’s not a productive process. It’s not an elegant process.
And neither is spending two hours on an important, integral project briefing that, really, if you had been challenged to do so, you could’ve finished in 15 minutes. The key, however, is getting used to that: working not harder, but smarter, for better results with less time and effort.
A great way to get everyone in on a meeting regardless of where they are without breaking their concentration or taking them out of their work mode, is through a video conferencing solution. Through cloud all hands meetings such as BlueJeans, you won’t only be able to have a face-to-face conversation with dozens of people, but you can even access other collaborative features to make a meeting more effective, such as file sharing and screen sharing, or a slideshow.
Meetings have become entrenched in this cliché that they’re often a burden to a company rather than a time to get things done, just like any other minute of the day should be. People don’t hate work; they hate working under bad management. And a meeting that bores people is an example of bad management. So the question then is: how can you manage a meeting to make it meaningful, effective, and absolutely to-the-point in just 15 minutes?
Adopting the Agile Philosophy
Large businesses have been plagued by the same thing that every organization eventually suffers under as things get bloated from a human resources point-of-view: bureaucracy. While bureaucracy makes for a great way to keep track of things, it’s also terribly inefficient and full of “red tape.” IT teams figured this out a long time ago, and in the ever-innovating, ever-disrupting nature of the growing IT world, they’ve built a working methodology that allows a team or company to work on a project or goal efficiently without hitting unnecessary bottlenecks and lagging behind due to misunderstandings, a lack of proper communication, and unnecessary meetings.
That methodology is Agile, which allows teams to approach a problem by asking themselves how best to divide it into individual sections or iterations, each one tackled by a single person within a predetermined amount of time (a time box). While it’s usually reserved for small teams, Agile Methodology states that Large Scale Scrums exist.
To make this philosophy work, a meeting must be held regularly. But it’s not your regular meeting.
Starting with the Briefing
The most important part of a project is how to start it, and that’s where the project briefing comes in. It doesn’t take long; give everyone in the meeting a basic overview of what the upcoming project will be (an ad campaign, a website, a software, a web-based application, etc.) and from there it’s a matter of getting everyone to pitch in and choose their area of expertise.
Meetings require an emphasis on collaboration. It’s not just a moment of delegation where one person steps to the podium and tells everyone what they’ve got to do to get their next pay check. Instead, it needs to be a moment when people come together to work on something, and in this case, it’ll be determining in what order things need to get done.
But not every meeting is a project briefing. Once everyone has a chosen task, it’s just a matter of getting through those tasks, and determining a way to go forward without wasting time on already discussed matters.
Cutting Out the Leadership
While Scrum is mostly about software development as per Scrum.org, it can be applied elsewhere. If you want to make 15 minutes productive, then you need to establish extremely hard lines. The Scrum meeting is a good example of this. Everyday, a 15-minute meeting is held among Scrum teams wherein a ScrumMaster acts as a coach, and every Scrum member pitches in with an explanation of what obstacles they’ve hit in their daily grind to check off their item on the list, and their plan to tackle those obstacles.
Cut Out the Travel
Meetings are typically drummed up. Everyone is taken off their workstations, out of their work, and out of their flow and escorted to a special meeting room where, among a dozen other people, they get to sit in a chair and wait for the meeting to start. That’s a waste of time, so opt for video conferencing.
And remember: the daily meeting is not a place for a status report, wherein finished parts of the meeting are discussed. Instead, it’s about going forward at all costs, at all times, beating down problems as they appear rather than pushing them away for later.