We know that meetings suck time snd energy out of an organisation – so why do we have so many. Especially these days when there are so many other ways of communicating without dragging  everyone to a central point which requires some of them to leave their offices and travel to that central point, further taking up their precious time.

One way that some organisations have found to find out what meetings  are essential is to establish a code of voluntary, rather than mandatory, attendance.

Relevant people are informed that a particular meeting is to be held and are given the agenda.  They then decide whether they need to, or want to, attend.

It helps, of course, to have some means of measuring the outcomes and the effectiveness of meetings so that a comparison of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ cultures can be made …. but, in the absence of formal measures, managers will’ know’ whether the new regime is working.

Equally, of courses it helps if those at the top also establish an effective communication process to ensure important messages are cascaded throughout the organisation.

Those meetings that have few attendees should be considered for review and possible removal.  Look at the agendas and the potential length of the meetings.  People often complain about the length and frequency of meetings as much as the fact that it exists in the first place.

So, empower your employees to choose which meetings they attend – and mean it.  Fill any communication  gaps.  After, say, 6 months, survey staff and find out their reactions – which meetings may be removed from the schedule … and whether any new, perhaps informal, meetings have been established to fill any gaps.

Then establish a new schedule of fewer, more efficient meetings.

Its not quite a simple as it sounds…. but it is a way of moving to a new low-meeting culture which still works effectively and releases time for other activities.