The definition of toxic is:
acting as or having the effect of a poison; poisonous:
According to this definition the traditional way of holding meetings can definitely be considered toxic. Not as in poisonous for your body, but the sheer amount of meetings that are held in a company are toxic for the working environment. Are you ever stuck in meetings that you realize are a total waste of time 5 minutes after entering? Do you ever feel like you could spend your time a million times better than in the meeting you are in? If you can relate to the previous sentences it is definitely time to change the way you meet, now!
If you just take a quick look at the amount of books that are written about this topic it is clear that something is wrong, and must be changed, when it comes to meetings.
A few examples of books that are available on Amazon says enough:
So, how can we make meetings less toxic and more productive?
At Spacebase we will give you some tips on how to “detox” your meetings, and make them better.
1. Detoxing by holding less meetings
Less is more is a tactic that also can be applied to meetings. In your company you don’t need a meeting for everything small. Keep the meetings for the really important decisions that affect a lot of people in the company.
You can ask yourself the simple question:
Do I need a meeting for this or can it be done by mail?
Progress reports and such can be done by mail, brainstorming and such is a legit reason for calling a meeting.
Not calling meetings for simple things and only for important stuff can really improve the overall performance of your company.
2. Detoxing by inviting less people
Have you ever been in a meeting where you felt completely useless? The kind of meeting where you feel like you could do 1000 other things that would be more useful for the company. The most common reason for this happening is that people invite EVERYONE to EVERY meeting, while this is completely unnecessary.
When you are organizing a meeting please ask yourself this question when inviting people:
– Does this person absolutely 100% need to be in this meeting?
When you get an invite for a meeting please ask yourself the following question:
– Do I absolutely 100% need to be in this meeting?
If the answer to any of the above questions is a clear no, please consider not sending them invites or staying far away from the meeting (and keep working at your desk perhaps)
3. Detoxing by setting a time limit
Meetings can take long, very very long. It is not unusual for companies to have meetings for up to 4 hours. Do you really think that people will stay productive in a 4 hour long meeting? Of course not! People don’t have an attention span that long.
Some sources say that 15 minutes is the perfect time for a meeting, this all has to do with the attention span of people. 15 minutes sounds like a really short time for a meeting, but if the focus of the meeting is completely clear it should be possible to use this time as effective as possible.
Of course, a 15 minute meeting is not always a possibility, but it should always be possible to set a time limit for your meeting.
If a 15 minute meeting is not sufficient try setting a timer to either 30 or 45 minutes, and stick to it!
4. Detoxing by giving your meetings a creative twist
Giving your meetings a creative twist is always a good way to make sure that everyone stays focused. There are different techniques to bring some creativity into your meetings. One method we thought of at Spacebase is called the “Meet Like Me” concept.
Check them out here:
We are convinced that these concepts for a meeting can improve your meetings positively.
5. Detoxing by changing your surroundings
Last but not least it is also possible to change the surroundings in which you meet. Why sit in the same boring office surroundings when you can go out and meet somewhere in a nearby city. You can have a meeting in a vibrant coworking space or in an amazing loft with a beautiful view. Below we made a small gallery to give you some ideas of amazing locations for your next meeting!
We hope that the above points will help you get rid of toxic meetings, and that they will help you to improve your meetings in the future!