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Article: Declutter your meetings and create Minimum Viable Meetings

There’s been a plethora of home and office organizing blogs, TV programs and podcasts over the past few years. There are hundreds of podcasts and youtube videos and thousands of books on how to declutter. Decluttering your car to your kitchen, your gym to your office and everything in between seems to have been covered.

But what about your time and how much time you spend in meetings? When was the last time you did a declutter of your meetings – both those you run and those you attend? How many meetings do you have each week? How long do you spend in them? Do you feel they’re a good use of your time? Decluttering is a fantastic way to get more time to spend on the things that really matter to you and your company.

Free up your time by running Minimum Viable Meetings:

  • Have the absolute minimum number of participants

  • Cover the critical few topics that help you meet your objectives

  • Schedule the fewest meetings possible and as early as possible

  • Achieve the result and outcome that you are satisfied with

What you’ll need:

  1. Your objectives/KPIs (for your role and/or project)

  2. The list of meetings you run and those in which you participate

  3. Notes from each meeting

  4. Schedule of meetings over the next month

For each meeting you run:

  1. Do you actually need to hold it? What decisions have been made at it or what info has been shared? Could this have been done by an email/presentation or voicemail?

  2. What frequency does it need to be? Do you need to find a better operating rhythm for it?

  3. What is the purpose behind it? Is it: Gaining buy-in? Communicating status or something else? Decision making? Brainstorming?

  4. What topics can be dropped? Are they all absolutely critical or can some be moved to a one-on-one or email?

  5. Can the meeting time be extended or shortened? Less is best but it depends on your endgame – what are you really trying to achieve?

  6. Who attends the meeting and why? Do some rough calculations and work out what it costs to hold the meeting? Adopt a zero-base approach – you need to understand why you should invite specific people. If you had to pay for each attendee, who would you invite?

  7. How does the meeting achieve each (or any) of your KPIs/objectives?

For each meeting you attend:

  1. How does each meeting help you attend your KPIs/objectives?

  2. In addition to your input, what is the point of attending the meeting?Ensuring your team is involved? or Organizational engagement or promotion?

  3. Are the meetings necessary for your projects?

  4. What value or contributions do you provide?

  5. What was the last piece of useful data or key input that you provided or received?

  6. What would happen if you didn’t attend? Would it: Impact the success of your team/project/company? Impact your career at the company Negatively impact relationshipsImpact other’s perception of you?

  7. Can you delegate attendances to one of your reports? Who could own it? What succession plan would you need to establish?

  8. If you decide to no longer attend a meeting, how will you keep informed?

Set yourself a target to reduce the number of meetings you attend or run by one each week, or reduce the duration of one meeting each week.

Then set yourself a target to reduce the attendees for each and only cover what is absolutely critical to achieve your objectives.

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