People attend a staggering number of meetings every day — 11 million of them, to be exact. If we generously assume that half of these are 30 minutes long and the other half are an hour, that’s a combined 8.25 million work hours per day that we spend in meetings. That’s a lot of our time. And most of that time isn’t productive or mindful. In fact, the British Psychological Society estimates that at least a third of all meetings are, well, pointless.
And Business Insider estimates that mindless meeting behaviors like this are costing the U.S. economy $37 billion a year.
So how do you curb the growing time, energy and money suck that meetings can be? Well, first things first- have fewer of them. Today’s workplace is full of meeting alternatives that allow us to work collaboratively. Once you’ve thinned out your calendar a bit, take a more thoughtful approach to the few meetings you have and ensure you’re getting every last drop out of them.
If we can make America’s meetings run even just 10 percent more mindfully, we’ll have increased productivity and save our economy almost $4 billion dollars annually.
2. Start the meeting with a one-minute meditation (or intention setting) to get everyone on the same page. This will help everyone switch gears from the many other tasks of the day to the meeting at hand.
3. No multitasking. No device usage is allowed, unless it’s necessary for the meeting (the note taker is the exception to this rule). That’s right, no scrolling through Facebook while you wait for your turn to speak!
4. Share all information or an agenda before the meeting via email. The meeting is not for providing context or background. Information includes slides, handouts, etc. That way, you can cut straight to the chase.
5. Topics that arise outside of the agenda go in the “parking lot” for the end of the meeting (or a new meeting).
6. Notes for the meeting should be documented: decisions, action items, follow-ups and parking lot items. A lot is shared in meetings; keep everyone on the same page by providing this information to all participants after the meeting.
7. If the meeting doesn’t involve your area of focus, don’t attend.
8. Conclude the meeting by allowing each participant to talk freely for one minute to relay positive or constructive feedback, or anything else of importance to them. This gives everyone a chance to get any last minute thoughts out of the way and allows everyone be a part of it.
9. Only one person talks at a time. The rest of the participants are mindfully listening.
10. Hold each other accountable for all the above. Everyone needs to be a team player!
Now that you have these vital ten steps, go forth, meet and create greatness – mindfully.