In several years of us working, we have yet to hear from anybody that they love meetings. A meeting memo is mostly greeted with loud sighs and grimaces. At this point in time, meetings are just a relic from our less productive era.
Jason Fried's phrase from our recent blog article bears repeating: If there are 10 people in the meeting, it's a 10-hour meeting. But not only do meetings waste our time in the most ineffective way possible, their toll on our economy is astounding. 37 billion dollars is lost annually due to unproductive meetings.
Alright, you may say. Do you have an alternative?
Actually, we got three.
Е-mails and such are best used for slow internal communication, whereas instant messaging is more suited for our highly mobile times. Since it happens in real time and warrants an immediate response, it is a perfect tool to stay in touch and collaborate on pressing issues.
Compared to phone calls and face-to-face conversations, instant messaging is less disruptive and does not require much in terms of financial and mental investments. Instant messaging exchanges tend to be shorter, thus they can save some valuable time. Not to mention, it is easy to browse your history and find conversation from days, weeks and even months ago.
It seems quite silly to describe the benefits of instant messaging when literally everyone has already been using it for ages. Stranger still that not many do realize the immediate benefits of opting for a quick chat instead of a long meeting session.
Another contender for replacing meetings is web conferencing. At first glance, it seems that web conferencing are the same as traditional meetings, only done via Internet. The difference is that the actual communication during web conferencing tends to be more effective and to the point.
Even when done in person, meetings aren't usually conducted face-to-face. When you sit at the meeting, you are more likely to look at someone's materials and presentations rather than their face. So meeting in person is an exercise in pointlessness.
Web conferencing, which is soon to be a standard in the business world, allows to distribute information in simpler and more efficient way. Especially when working with remote teams, as it saves you a lot of money which would otherwise be spent on plane tickets and hotel accommodation.
Once you have a computer and stable enough connection, location stops being a problem.
Lastly, meetings can be disregarded entirely if you use collaboration tools. Regular status reporting gives you a good assessment of the process, plans and results of your team's work.
Collaboration tools allow to achieve all the benefits that are usually ascribed to meetings. All of them – and more. Take, for instance, Weekdone. It promotes socializing without unnecessary time-wasting banter. It allows to brainstorm and share ideas without sitting in the same room. It lets you achieve better teamwork without playing old-school team-building games.
Moreover, Weekdone provides:
- Accountability – with team reports, you know exactly who is responsible for which task. It is easy to measure and grade results, assign tasks, find solutions, and providing feedback takes only a pair of clicks.
- Transparency – with Weekdone, you can be sure that the information you receive is both relevant and accurate. Every step of your work is reflected in these reports, which makes for a smoother work process.
- Means to set goals – no team can call itself effective without a proper plan laid out before it. With Weekdone, you can define your plans on three levels: personal, team's and company's. With everyone's objectives clear, you can work together towards a greater goal.