So this week we had a cancelled meeting, it’s a good thing and here’s why.
Meetings need purpose, this week we had a cancelled meeting and the first thing we did was circulate a note to everyone saying well done. Why, because a meeting without purpose, goals and clear direction is a waste of time. Cancelling meetings is the first step to better meetings. We use Amazemeet to plan all our meetings which helps immeasurably, but there are simple steps you can follow to work out whether hitting cancle is the right thing to do.
10 reasons to cancel
Try this simple check list the next time you see a meeting invite and the sinking feeling takes hold:
- The meeting is being held because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”
- There are no decisions that need to be made
- You don’t really know who will show up
- The outcomes are undetermined and unpredictable
- There was zero prep work for anybody for the meeting
- It is an information-only or roundtable-type meeting
- No one is assigned to take and distribute meeting notes
- You haven’t communicated the meeting expectations to the participants
- You look for agenda items and don’t come up with anything of substance
- The only reason you are having it is because it is already on your calendar
One of these should be enough, two or more and it should be game over.
Put the fear aside
It seems crazy but the first point on the list above is probably the hardest to get over. Cultural and organisational norms are hard to overcome, it takes courage to stand up and say no to something when that’s the way it’s always been. But, take heart, set aside your fear of looking disorganised and raise your concerns. You may find the oposite is true and that your cancel makes you look organised prioritising your work over time wasted.
Time to learn
A cancelled meeting should happen for a clear reason. It’s only powerful if you learn from this, taking the why and making sure the mistakes aren’t repeated. If you take a holistic views of your meetings you should be considering their costs. Time costs money in any business and quantifying this can help to ensure you shape your meetings for maximum impact. Don’t make the same mistakes twice. Meetings should have purpose and outcomes otherwise it’s just people in a room or on zoom talking to each other.