For a distributed company, the importance of meetings extends far beyond project collaboration. These events are the primary source of our team’s shared time together, and you may remember that shared time is the foundation of company culture, so suffice it to say, meetings are a crucial component of our team’s work life! It’s a time when participants can build trust with one another and develop communication styles while synchronously sharing information.
However, with so many benefits of conducting meetings, it’s easy for virtual managers to fall into the trap of scheduling too many meetings and falling into an endless meeting cycle: “It was so great to connect with Julie. I should schedule a 1-on-1 call with Tim and Susan, too!” or “Great ideas, everyone! This brainstorming session just inspired 6 new breakout projects for our team. Let’s schedule a kickoff call for each of those within the week.” Soon your calendar is full of back-to-back meetings, only to repeat itself week after week.
When this happens, team members become so immune to the value of meetings that they only attend with partial attention and investment, then miss out of the valuable opportunities of shared time with the team. Not to mention that we become so invested in the progress of our team members and our department, that we’re missing out on the time to focus on our own professional development.
Instead, we should evaluate our workload of meetings (and our team’s) to look for opportunities to streamline our schedules.
- Are there any meetings that we could read notes on or listen to a recording of instead of attending?
- Are there any meetings that we attend without knowing the agenda or goal beforehand?
- Would one of our team members benefit from the leadership training of attending a meeting on our behalf?
- Are there any meetings that could be shortened by 10-30 minutes?
- Could (and should) the guest list for any meetings be shortened?
Leading our team in simplifying our individual and collective calendars allows for longer blocks of deep headspace and uninterrupted productivity. Because let’s face it, too much of a good thing can be bad.