Less Painful Meetings

May 16, 2023 • 3 min read

Meetings are super important for teamwork and all that jazz, but let’s be real, they can also be a major buzzkill for productivity.

Without the right structure and guidelines, meetings can turn into a total waste of time and resources. But hey, no worries! There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your meetings are productive and efficient.

Below are some tips you can use to make your meetings more productive and efficient.

Send an Agenda Ahead of Time

To ensure productive meetings, it is crucial to send an agenda ahead of time (one day before is generally ok). This allows participants to come prepared and have a clear understanding of what to expect.

The agenda should include the meeting’s objectives, a list of topics to be discussed, and any materials that participants should review beforehand.

By providing participants with this information, you can confidently expect that the meeting will stay on track and everyone will be fully engaged in the discussion.

Time-Box Your Meetings

Meetings can be a real drag, but you can totally fix that by time-boxing your meetings. That’s just a fancy way of saying you set a specific time limit for the meeting and you stick to it.

Trust me, the shorter the meeting, the better it is for everyone.

Shoot for 15, 30, or 45 minutes instead of going on forever. You know what works even better? Three 30-minute sessions instead of one long 1.5-hour marathon.

Keep the meeting short and sweet, and everyone will stay engaged and get stuff done.

Record Meetings for Async Consumption

Another great way to make meetings more productive is to record them by default for async consumption. This allows participants who were unable to attend the meeting to catch up on what was discussed. It also provides a record of the meeting that can be reviewed later on if needed.

Establish Meeting Types

It’s a good idea to always define a specific meeting type, with a custom emoji and a color coding for your calendar. This helps participants quickly understand the purpose of the meeting and what they should expect.

For example, you could set the following meeting formats:

📣 Broadcast Meetings for announcements and townhalls

🥁 Rhythm Meetings for regular status updates,

🏗️ Planning Meetings to define timelines and provide estimates,

🛠 Problem-Solving Meetings for workshops and solution finding,

🏕️ Exploration Meetings for big questions and complex problems,

💚 Team Building Meetings for team spirit and collaboration,

🏆 Review Meetings for retrospectives, 1:1, performance meetings.

Structure Larger Meetings

Larger meetings need to be structured and formalized. For example, with a 10-point meeting document that’s distributed ahead of time.

This ensures that everyone is clear on the format of the meeting, the purpose and desired outcome, the high-level agenda, list of attendees, questions to be discussed or decisions to be made, how much time each question would get, off-topic items that were parked during the meeting, action points and ownership/roles for each, and link to the video recording + transcript.

Create Focus Days

It’s super important to have days where there ain’t no meetings going on.

That way, everybody can get down and dirty with their deep work without nobody bugging them. If you schedule these days, your team is gonna be on fire with productivity and efficiency.

Time Your Meetings for Optimal Productivity

Alignment sessions work better in the morning, while retrospectives work better in the evening. By timing your meetings for optimal productivity, you can ensure that everyone is engaged and that the meeting is productive.