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How to run better meetings

Stop filling your day with Zoom meetings. There's a better way to keep everyone connected without clogging up your calendar.

The best kind of meeting? No meeting.

"Do you have ten minutes? I want to run something by you."
—Well-meaning remote co-worker.

Cancel these meetings first.

A 10 minutes catchup in remote math means 45 minutes down the Zoom pipe. It's a trap. A meeting won't speed up anything for your team. An entire day of do-you-have-ten-minutes leaves us feeling drained and done.

Be honest with yourself, and with your calendar. Weed out these troublemakers to gain more space.

So what do you do instead? If an asynchronous document can do the job, ditch the meeting.

If you really can't shake off a meeting...

We have some tips to make these better.

Pick an owner & stick to the schedule

  • Put together a doc with an agenda, resources, and any relevant info—shared with attendees so they can also add their items and questions. This makes sure everyone 100% involved and knows what they'll be discussing once the meeting rolls in.
  • Set one-hour meetings to 45 minutes. That's right,  it'll force you to stay focused.
  • Don't go over your time slot. If you've got pending decisions, plan another meeting—or even better—collaborate on a doc. Tired people make terrible decisions.

Write the way you speak

  1. Nix the bullet points. They're unclear and incomplete fragments of info.
  2. Write full sentences. Make a narrative out of your reporting to make things interesting—people will read things beforehand and be better prepared.

Keep it < four people

More people means more passive stares from people scrolling through their social feeds. So:

  • Liberate optional attendees
  • Debrief people with a TLDR; at the end of every meeting

It makes decision-making easier and leaves room for everyone to participate

What about the almighty "all-hands meetings"? You'll be showered with gifts when you remove them. If you do have a big announcement, shoot a video of yourself presenting it instead. Then share it with everyone to watch on their own time(zone).

Be human, cameras ON

Ever walk into a meeting with a pancake on your face? Didn't think so. So why would you hide your face in an online meeting?

Keep your camera on. You'll be able to see and mimic people's feelings and expressions—building trust and engagement just as you would in any real-life conversation.

Can't cancel your meeting?

Is your next meeting one of the ones you can't get out of? Then prepare it quickly with a template. It'll make things easier and who knows—maybe that meeting will never need to happen ever again.