Say No or Say Low

Hi this is Cyril from Work Smarter Live Better. In this video I’d like to share a few simple advice on how to reduce the time that you spend in meetings.

Many of my clients are a medium to large corporate and when I asked the leaders and the managers in those corporates about their productivity issues, and their team productivity issues, in the top three always come meetings. It never fail. And I asked them, “So what do you mean by meetings?”. And there’s a few things, “We’ve got too many meetings and so I spent too much time in meetings. Quite a few of the meetings are actually a waste of time or not as effective as they could be.” And at the end of the day some of them said to me, “I spent my life in meeting and so when am I doing my work? When am I supposed to think? When am I supposed to work on some of the things I have to do?”.

There is quite a few things you can do to improve the effectiveness of the meetings you have, and I don’t pretend I’m going to cover all of them in this short video blog but I just want to give you a few very simple advice and the biggest advice is what I say – “Say low or say no”. The mind set you need to have is whenever you say yes to a meeting, you actually say no to something else, so the time that you are giving to that meeting, this time could have been spent on something else and this something else could have been more important.

So say no. What does that mean? Few advice. I remember one of manager I was working with we designed a little strategy. And the strategy was: whenever he was invited to a meeting, he was checking three things

  1. is that for information? And if the meeting is for information, can you just put it on the email and send it to me. Much shorter.
  2. is that to make a decision? And if it’s to make a decision, can you make your recommendation first, I’ll have a look at your recommendation and if necessary then we might decide to have a meeting to discuss and it’s going to be a short one.
  3. Or is it to brainstorm something? And if it’s to brainstorm something, can you let me know what impact it’s going to have on our performance and if it’s worth investing our time on it?

So it was really kind of putting a filter to say, “Do I really need to get to that meeting?” and he said just that cut a lot of meeting.

The “say low”: probably my biggest advice in say low is fight against the one hour default. We always think about meeting is an hour. There’s a lot of meeting, actually most of the meeting I have, I fight against the one hour. I suggest you have 15 minutes meeting. I suggest you have 45 minutes meeting. Most of the meeting you think you have an hour, you’re going to be having 45 minutes and you have just saved 15mn to breathe, to do many little things. It’s just a wonderful tips. I have a lot of 15 minutes meeting, I have a lot of 45 minutes meeting.

And other simple advice is don’t always have meeting face to face. Most of my meetings are done by video or by phone. Most of my meetings are done by video by phone and it worked really fine. I don’t have to travel. The people that I have meeting don’t have to travel and we just catch up on the phone or by video.

One of my clients recently, I’m working with their leaders around the world, and we were talking about this 45 minutes default meeting and they started applying that and it starting having such an impact to the managers that I was coaching that they decided that this rule they we’re going to bring it to the CEO of the organization and we’re talking about a very large organization with thousands of people. And they say, “If we can just implement this rule as fighting the one hour default, our default become 45 minutes, just that, will have such an impact on all of us”, just that little advice.

This is this week Work Smarter Live Better tip. I hope you enjoy it. Any advice do you have around how you make your meeting more effective, just please share with us. You have a lovely day. Until next time, you take care. Cheers!

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