Most Internal Meetings are a Waste of Time: Tips to Flip the Script

Published On: March 24, 20233.4 min read

Meetings are an essential part of any organization, but they can quickly become time-wasters if not properly planned and structured. In a recent webinar, Scaling Up Business Coach Jennifer Faught shared her insights on how to flip the script on internal meetings and make them more productive.

Two Keys to Better Meetings

According to Jennifer, there are two critical factors that impact the effectiveness and value of meetings: proper planning and proper structure. While many organizations overlook the importance of training their managers and employees on how to run more successful meetings, it can be a game-changer. Firstly, you must understand and be able to identify the different types of communication.

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Communication

There are two types of communication: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous communication is any type of communication that has the expectation of an immediate response, while asynchronous communication does not. Jennifer emphasizes the importance of deciding which part of your meetings can be made asynchronous to save time and cut back on “junk” meetings.

Jennifer provides a chart to help identify which types of communication should be synchronous and which should be asynchronous. Understanding the difference is crucial for your team to optimize meeting time.

Daily Huddles

Daily huddles are quick daily check-in meetings where all team members can share what they are working on and where they need help. Before sending an email or calling someone, team members should ask, “Can this wait until the daily huddle?” 

Jennifer dives into how to optimize the structure of a daily huddle, including sections like “What’s Up,” Top Task Review, Stucks, and Top Priority Review. These sections are all readily available and easily accessible in the Align software, so that you can essentially run your meetings in the software itself.

Jennifer’s 9 Meeting Rules

Jennifer provides nine rules to make meetings productive, and explains how teams can use tools and resources to uphold them and take them a step further.

  1. Only invite essential people – you can inform the rest
  2. No agenda, no attenda – set the outcome from the beginning
  3. 24-hour notice – send necessary docs in advance
  4. Be on time, every time
  5. Be fully present – eliminate distractions
  6. No piggybacking – don’t repeat something if it doesn’t add value
  7. Ask for clarity and “by when”
  8. Always review action items
  9. Finish on time

Jennifer recommends using a meeting planner and meeting audit to gauge the effectiveness of your meetings. The internal meeting audit should help you find which meetings are most valuable, which are redundant and either need to be eliminated or adjusted, and help polish your meeting rhythm ensuring that you don’t waste time. Jennifer provides her template for this.

Align comes with built-in meeting tools that help optimize meeting structure. It provides templates for various types of meetings, from daily and weekly huddles to 1:1s, creating a space to input and update your agenda, action items, and the several sections of a productive huddle that Jennifer referenced earlier.

Asking for Feedback

Jennifer emphasizes the importance of asking for feedback regarding meetings. She explains the various effective ways to collect feedback, including gamifying it with a theme, and tying it to a priority or critical number in Align. She says using software tools like Align helps ensure your meetings follow a productive agenda, everyone is aligned around the purpose of the meeting, and that all team members walk away with an understanding of their relevant action items and a timeline for deliverables.

In Conclusion

Jennifer’s insights on productive meetings provide a clear roadmap for organizations looking to optimize their communication rhythms. Proper planning and structure, understanding the different types of communication, implementing daily/weekly huddles, and using available resources are all steps to flip the script on internal meetings and make them valuable.

You can check out the full recording complete with Jennifer’s templates in the full recording below.

To learn how Align’s Huddle team meeting software can help you squash unproductive meetings and improve across-the-board communication in your team, book your demo today.

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