All we do is meet, meet, meet, meet, meet. Sometimes it feels like you didn't actually complete any work because you spent the whole time in meetings. Do you know that feeling of dread when you start your workday, open your calendar, and realize that you won't be checking anything off the to-do list until tomorrow?

Executives spend an average of 23 hours per week in meetings, and these hours can add up to a high cost of the average meeting. The next time you go to schedule a meeting, run through this checklist to make sure it's worth it.

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Additionally, if you have to schedule a remote meeting, use video conferencing rather than audio-only conference calls. More than half of on-site workers want to work remotely in the future, so start preparing now for more video! Video conferencing decreases meeting time, improves productivity, and increases employee happiness and relationship-building.

Useless meetings can lead to distracted, disengaged employees, like these ones:

Multitasking LONG FINAL

To avoid a situation like this, use our checklist to decide if you need a meeting in the first place and follow these tips.


"Do we need to have this meeting?" If you're asking yourself this question, double-check this list before sending out calendar invites.


1. Is the matter urgent or time-sensitive?

This question is important to ask first. If the topic you want to discuss with colleagues is urgent or time-sensitive -- such as a data security breach, an employee safety issue, or a negative piece of press -- use more immediate communication methods like Slack or Microsoft Teams. You can immediately brief the decision-makers and leaders you need to loop in. From there, you can decide if you need to hold a meeting or if other members of the team should consult first.

The bottom line is, if there's a pressing issue that requires input from other team members, you'll likely need a meeting at some point. But you should make sure to inform folks using the fastest method first.


2. Am I looking for a discussion, or am I looking for deliverables?

Another important question to consider before sending out calendar invitations is what type of meeting you're interested in holding. With hybrid work becoming the norm in the workplace, more meetings are occurring with remote workers. Remote workers have said that meetings reduce their productivity 1.8 times more than on-site workers, so be conscious of other schedules.

If you're looking for an exchange of ideas between core team members, you most likely need a meeting to get your team members in a room together.

However, if what you need is collaboration or feedback on an ongoing project, or to review deliverables from other team members, you may not need a meeting. Instead, consider if you can send out a reminder email with deadlines and requests for feedback or contributions to shared team documents. Google Drive and Dropbox Paper are helpful collaborative tools to receive feedback and edits from other team members. Emails or instant messages can serve as effective reminders instead of taking up a group's time with a meeting.

The general rule of thumb is if the work needed can be done offline, do it offline. Later, you can meet in-person or via video meeting to discuss progress and exchange new ideas.


3. Who is the designated responsible individual for the task I'm hoping to accomplish?

This is an important question to ask yourself before scheduling the meeting. If you're responsible for the success of a project, make a list of what's needed before meeting with your team. Once you complete your list, feel free to schedule your meeting.

If you aren't the responsible individual, you most likely shouldn't be organizing the meeting. Instead, touch base with the project manager about any deliverables you can help with.


4. If I need help brainstorming, how many ideas do we need?

It's always more appealing to have other heads in the room with you when you need to get ideas down on paper for a project. Yet, just because you'd like help generating new ideas doesn't always mean that a meeting is necessary.

Instead, save brainstorm meetings for when you need a lot of ideas and input from others before kicking off a project. If you're looking for input on smaller ideas, such as blog post titles or social media concepts, hold a virtual brainstorm! Use a shared document to drop your ideas into and ask team members to help as well.

If you're brainstorming about large-scale campaigns or projects, it's worth scheduling a meeting.


5. Are we meeting about an idea or project that has not been discussed or kicked off yet?

Kickoff meetings for new projects are a critical part of the collaboration process. It's important to dedicate time to get into a room, getting on the same page, and talking through responsibilities, deliverables, and deadlines needed from the group to get an initiative off the ground.

However, if the project has already been kicked off in a prior meeting, consider balancing check-ins with alternating meetings and virtual collaboration. Instead of a weekly status report meeting, consider biweekly status report meetings punctuated by stand-ups via Slack or email wherein team members can share progress made virtually.


6. What's my ideal outcome?

Ask yourself what your ideal outcome would be if you were to hold a meeting. Walking away from the table, how would you determine if a meeting was a success or a failure?

It's important to think this through because it may help you determine if a meeting is needed or not. If your desired outcome is a piece of collateral, like a presentation, a document, or a spreadsheet, a meeting may not be necessary yet. If what you're looking for is ideas and feedback, collaboration, or input, it might be time for a meeting. By thinking through the goal you're looking to achieve first, you can determine steps to take before taking people's time up with a meeting.

Once you've decided that you need to hold a meeting, make sure you're running through our checklist to be as efficient as possible.


7. If this is a recurring meeting, how often are status reports needed to be successful?

If the meeting you're planning will be a recurring one, consider introducing virtual meeting elements to it. If you do need a weekly status update, host every other stand-up over Slack to save everyone's time.

8. Is there enough time to prepare for the meeting?

Preparation is crucial for a productive meeting. Some projects like brainstorms don't require much preparation beyond having an idea of what is to be discussed. Recurring meetings often take more preparation to nail down ideas and data.

Once you know the meeting type it's time to gauge your team's availability and decide when to schedule it. Just because you might be ready to meet, doesn't mean your coworkers are ready as well. Try to give at least a day's notice for larger projects so everyone can align and finish up other work beforehand.

Check team member's calendars to see if they're free at the time you have in mind. Finally, ask your team what works best for them to avoid anything that wasn't on their calendars. Once you get their confirmation, you're ready to answer these next questions. 


9. Is everyone I plan to invite necessary?

Business leaders and thinkers agree that the most successful meetings can be held over a single pizza -- with about eight participants.The folks you invite can invite other members of their teams to join, but keep the core group small to keep meetings as chatter-free as possible.

10. What role does each individual have in this meeting?

Once you have your list of those you want to invite, it's key to understand what each person should bring to the table. If the meeting requires certain data or insights ahead of time, assign a relevant attendee to come prepared with that information. You'll save time by only focusing on the discussion at hand, without waiting for others to search for the information needed.

Appoint individual roles ahead of time, such as a facilitator or note-taker. You'll better manage your time and come away with a clearer picture of what needs to be done.

11. Can the meeting take place using a video call?

In many cases, the answer to this question will be, "yes." Video conferences make it easier to include remote participants in the conversation, and they can be recorded for review by participants who were unable to attend. Plus, video conference meetings are faster than audio-only conference calls, so video meetings are more productive and more inclusive.


12. How long should this meeting be?

Be mindful of people's time when you book your meeting. If you have a long agenda, you might be tempted to book a full hourlong meeting. However, we encourage you to look critically at your agenda to determine how much time these discussions will actually need.

Set your standard meeting length as 30 minutes, expanding to 45 or 60 minutes only if the agenda items are all closely related. Sometimes, people book longer meetings to cover a broad swath of tasks, but if they're unrelated, that can be confusing for participants.

It's better to book two shorter meetings than it is to book an extra-long meeting to try and be productive. Just don't forget to follow our checklist when booking the second meeting, too.


13. Does the meeting have a clear agenda?

There is nothing worse than a meeting with an unprepared leader. Meeting agendas shared ahead of time allows invitees to prepare for productive contributions. Creating the agenda also helps clarify your vision about the project in discussion.


14. Is the meeting room A/V set up already?

Last but not least, make sure the meeting room you're booking is set up to go. Run through our A/V checklist to make sure the room you're using is ready to immediately hop onto a video conference to avoid wasting valuable meeting time wrangling technical difficulties. 59% of remote workers cite IT issues as the biggest challenge during meetings. Remote workers rely on these tools to integrate successfully into the team, so things must work well.

Running more efficient meetings will save your company from fatigue and maximize productivity. They'll also fix the elephant in the room -- meetings cost U.S companies $37 billion a year. To learn more, read about the potential cost of meetings next and find the best video conference camera for your meeting space.

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