February 8, 2017

5 Expert Tips to Have Super-Productive Meetings

Our days are broken up into a series of 30 or 60 minute blocks full of conference room locations and dial-in numbers. We’ve all had that day so chock-full of meetings that we wonder when our next meal will be. And the only thing worse than too many meetings? Being hangry in too many meetings…

It may seem odd for someone who works for an online meeting tool, join.me, to come right out and say we have too many meetings, but it’s the truth. In a recent survey conducted by Zipcar, 44% of respondents reported being unproductive in meetings. We’re unproductive because we meet too much! Period.

Think about the amount of time it takes to schedule a meeting, confirm timing with others, find a room, get to that room, set up your equipment. There’s a better way, people—we promise—and it all starts with knowing when you should actually have a meeting. We aren’t saying don’t collaborate (that’s a necessary part of getting work done), but collaboration doesn’t have to equal a formal meeting.

To help you out, we’ve put together five tips to getting work done in the best way possible. (Want more insights? Download Zipcar’s Z4B (Zipcar for Business) whitepaper, “The 5 Habits of Happier, More Productive Workplaces,” developed in partnership with productivity expert Chris Bailey.)

Sometimes a meeting doesn’t need a conference room.Sometimes a meeting doesn’t need a conference room.

Evaluate Before You Schedule: Before scheduling a meeting, ask yourself if this is truly the best way to accomplish your goal. Sure, if you need to get all the department leads to brainstorm your Q1 campaigns, book a room or schedule a join.me and send that calendar invite. But if you just want to make sure that everyone is on track for the latest product update, try an email instead, with pertinent information that can include links to shared documents and resources.

Conduct a Mock-Meeting: Don’t start talking to yourself at your desk—you’ll get some odd looks from your coworkers—but instead plan how you want a meeting to go ahead of time. Chances are by writing down goals and questions for a meeting, you might be able to answer a lot on your own or crowdsource your peers before meeting. By planning out your meeting ahead of time, a lot of long meetings can be completed in a matter of minutes.

Stretch Your Legs: Not all meetings have to be arranged ahead of time. Get up and pop by the desk of a coworker or ask them to grab a cup of coffee. Make the most of your valuable time by also getting questions answered, your caffeine fix, or some fresh air!

Coffee and collaboration: a match made in heaven.Coffee and collaboration: a match made in heaven.

Make Tech Your Best Friend: There are a multitude of awesome productivity tools out there. We love Slack for internal conversations between coworkers. Slack can often replace emails and due to the nature of instant messages, you can ask a quick question and get a reply immediately. Trello is another great tool that keeps your projects on track and can easily be shared with others. Get to know the tools that you have at the ready and figure out the best productivity stack to get work done. It’s amazing how much collaboration can happen through tools like these without needing to actually meet face to face.

Watch the Clock: Besides having too many meetings, there’s nothing worse than a meeting that doesn’t start or end on time. A meeting that runs over by only a few minutes can cause a domino effect that can throw off the rest of your day. So, if you do need to gather people into a room or on a conference call, keep an eye on the clock and make sure to end your meeting promptly (or even a little early) to allow employees to get where they need to be next.

Feeling inspired to supercharge *your* workplace? Download Zipcar’s whitepaper The 5 Habits of Happier, More Productive Workplaces, developed in partnership with productivity expert Chris Bailey. And let us know your tips in the comments below!

Learn more about Zipcar for Business.