EMBRACE THE NON-MEETING

We’ve covered how to hold effective meetings “MAKE THE MOST OF MEETINGS“, but sometimes a meeting isn’t the most efficient way to move your team forward. Below are some instances where other approaches may be a better choice than the typical project management meeting.

Confirming information.
If no new data will be revealed and all that’s necessary is to corroborate information for the team’s general knowledge, don’t bother bringing folks together. E-mail is often a better choice, allowing large numbers of team members to respond when convenient. It also offers an easily accessible trail of what’s been confirmed and which data points are still outstanding.

Asking questions.
Yes, gathering information is sometimes best accomplished during a meeting, but think carefully about whether a different methodology might be more efficient. If all you really seek are answers (and not a discussion surrounding the questions you’re posing), then e-mail or even individual conversations might be a wiser use of your team’s time.

Raising concerns.
Don’t wait to bring up potential problems, especially if the bulk of the group isn’t available for a last-minute meeting. Instead, bring your concerns to the team leader or—if that’s you— seek out the one or two people with the expertise to help identify the true scope and nature of the problem, or who are best equipped to begin developing solutions. Once these initial steps have been taken, you can then call a meeting to deal with the issue on a wider scale.

Going through the motions.
Admit it: sometimes your Project Team holds meetings simply because they’re on the calendar, not because anyone has anything to contribute or requires anything from the rest of the team. Rather than spend time on an unproductive get-together, consider sending an e-mail before each regularly scheduled meeting to ensure the team will actually benefit from it.

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