Great infographic about the ugly truth behind meetings.
We love this infographic from the guys at fuze.com it really hits home with the issues we are facing in our current meeting culture.
We love this infographic from the guys at fuze.com it really hits home with the issues we are facing in our current meeting culture.
We talk a lot about meeting efficiency and saved time but when was the last time you stopped to think what that really meant. What would you really do if you got some of that precious time back? So we asked you and as usual our amazing community was not slow coming forward. For me this is really what Amazemeet is all about having better meetings and getting back in control of not just our working lives but our lives so we can spend more time doing the things we love. My time saved is spent doing too things time with family and time to create ideas. Here’s what everyone else likes to do
2 hours doesn’t seem like a lot but there’s plenty you can do with 2 hours! For most of us it seems 2 hours is a great piece of time saved to actually do some work. The biggest complaint we hear from Amazemeeters is that meetings stop them from actually doing their jobs. Gaining back 2 elusive hours is a great block of time to sit and concentrate on that report, come up with that next amazing idea or simply day dream. More on that here.
If you had 2 hours back what would you do?
4 hours per week
We’re getting into super efficient territory here. Amazemeet is a brilliant step to saving this kind of time but like all tools it’s only as good as the person wielding them. When we spoke with our community our more experienced users are saving this kind of time cutting out unnecessary meetings but it’s also been a catalyst to get better organised in other areas of their working life. Cutting out distractions at work, being more disciplined with tasks are high on the agenda. WHat’s more startling though is how much happier Amazemeeters seem when they are making significant time saving at work.
When we asked the community what they do if they’re saving 4 or more hours a week it’s a lesson in balance. Whilst everyone seems to cite getting actual work done this is balanced with having more time for things outside of the work environment. Having fun, spending time with family, picking the kids up from school all feature highly. As does taking some time out for yourself. Many of you commented how saved time is great for mindfulness.
What’s very clear though is that more focussed Amazemeeters are getting the balance right. They generally seem happier, they’re more productive and they feel much more in control of the working lives and lives in general.
So i’m sure you’ve read that and thought, hey hold on that’s a whole day. Yep, that’s right. If you read our recent post about the 5 hour work day then saving 8 hours a week is definitely possible. Just imagine what you’d do with all that time. Actually what’s interesting is that most of the community say the more time they save the more they actually need to plan how to use it. Once in a while a box set binge on the couch can be great for the soul but it’s not a long term strategy. I have to admit there aren’t that many Amazemeeters saving 8+ hours a week, those that are have really taken the bull by the horns and decided to completely re-evaluate they way they work and live. It’s not something to be done lightly. But it’s something that’s becoming increasingly necessary. Many of our work based cultural constructs are rooted in the past, particularly the idea that time spent at work equals productivity. In fact the opposite is true, it’s something we seem to have fallen into with meetings as well. Good communication is a hallmark of good company culture, but couple this with technology that’s made it super easy to meet and talk and it’s easy to tip the balance. Microsoft Japan trialled the 4 day week and two things happened. Productivity went up and so did employee happiness. The idea of simply spending more time at something goes totally out the window. Sure in a cotton mill more time on the production line probably did equate to more output. But, when the jobs that many of us do really on creativity, thinking, ideas the opposite is true.
My own experience as a seasoned marketer working both cleint and agency side is that the more you work something the worse it gets. My tactic is to walk the dog, get some clarity of thought, it’s where the saying “sleep on it” comes from.
But just think a whole day! What would you do if I suddenly said you could have a whole day back? Drop a comment and let me know.
Sadly this belies my age and fondness for John Hughes movies. No, the better meetings breakfast club isn’t a Saturday detention for angst ridden teens. Rather it’s a chance to meet with Mike and other like minded people who are simply tired of having crap meetings and want to do something about it.
As the founder of Amazemeet Mike brings a wealth of experience to the table, he’ll be there to hear your frustrations and offer up suggestions about how things can be improved. Mike’s also there to learn your experiences and tips to get better meetings are super valuable so come along and share.
Oh and there will be coffee, tea, croissants and bacon sarnies!
WHEN: Friday the 21st February, 10:30am-11:30am
WHERE: Lantana London Bridge, 44-46 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1UN
*This event is not about selling, Amazemeet are committed to making meetings better for everyone. To do that we need to meet as many people as we can who are motivated for change. Sharing our experiences and ideas will help shape better meeting and a better working life for us all.
Following on from yesterdays post about putting some science into your meeting scheduling to plan your meetings better and get the outcomes you want. We found this great infographic from the guys over at NetCredit and thought we’d share it. It’s a great insight into all those day to day tasks that fill our lives.
So let’s get this out the way, we’re not advocating using science for meeting scheduling as some kind of brainwashing* tactic! We wrote a few weeks ago about the post-prandial dip and how this can affect meetings, how to mitigate the effects and work it to your advantage. This post is very much a continuation of that. In our quest for ever better meetings we’re constantly exploring the variables that affect outcomes. Whether it’s better planning, meeting scheduling, attendee selection, follow up and most importantly the human element. They all play a role in getting the outcome we desire, which in most cases is why we have meetings in the first place pooling knowledge, insight and experience to work a problem and reach a goal.
*We’ll write a post about brainwashing next week – Ed.
According to UK company YouCanBookMe, who analysed data from more than two million responses to 530,000 meeting invitations, the best time to have a meeting is Tuesdays at 2:30pm. So from now on you can only have meetings on Tuesdays at 2:30pm. OK, so that’s not really practical especially when some of us spend 30% or more of our time in meetings. I’d also ask the question is this the best time or the most popular time for people to book meetings? It’s certainly true that Mondays tend to be a bad day for meetings, people are back at work, picking up on tasks and tend to be most productive. Does this infer that Tuesday is just the next earliest available day. We could even argue of these are external meetings with clients perhaps could the timing be designed to avoid buying lunch! It sounds almost silly but these are all questions to consider.
Let’s look at things from an Amazemeet perspective. We know that the culture of increasing numbers of meetings is bad and having more meetings is bad, certainly if you believe every study done into meetings in the work place. But, we keep having them and keep having more of them. This would suggest that behaviour is out of whack with effectiveness and efficiency. We could therefore argue that pinpointing a time based on an inherently flawed premise is also a complete red herring.
Perhaps the answer lies in science. Rather than scheduling meetings at the most popular time why don’t we work towards the most effective time. Afternoon meetings, especially after lunch meetings are prime post-prandial dip territory. As we’ve discovered the effects can be mitigated but that suggests after lunch is not the “best” time.
The “best” time has to take into account of the type of meeting. Let’s take 4 examples:
and here’s some science to work out which should happen when
Learning is at its most effective when the brain’s in acquisition mode. This tends to be between 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m. and then again from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
This kind of meeting is definitely not something to do burning the midnight oil, the lowest learning valley occurs between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
How often do we say let’s “sleep on it” it’s common for a reason: we make the worst decisions late at night and first thing in the morning. Your cognitive powers are strongest once your brain has a chance to shake off sleep inertia.
Sleep science research has pretty established that a good night’s sleep i.e. good quantity (7 to 9 hours at night) and good quality (a decent amount of that in deep REM state) allows your brain to properly ‘consolidate’ everything it has gathered in the day. It is literally when your brain has the time to process and build lasting memory and refresh what it already knows. So, as if by magic, the problem that seemed so wicked the night before, is solved when you awake.
Save important decisions for when you feel most alert, generally within one to three hours after waking up.
The major irony here is that research has found that people are at their least creative when it’s demanded the most: normally at the heart of the workday, between 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Dr Michael Breus suggests leaning into “moments of groggy greatness” when we’re slightly tired and easily distracted. During these times, right and left brain communicate, which can trigger new and novel connections — and spark innovative ideas.
No question, Friday afternoon. While this is the least productive day of the week, people are generally in a good mood. A positive outlook bodes well for asking for a raise or making a sale. Avoid Monday mornings — when people are the most stressed and grumpy — at all costs. Anecdotally there’s also something to be said for accents, it’s been proven that people trust Scottish accents the most when speaking to their bank. so next time money is involved make sure it’s Friday afternoon and you’ve practised your best Glaswegian accent.
These definitely aren’t 100% the answer every time but try it, you’ll be using science to schedule meetings that align with the way peoples brains work. A good first step when you’re using Amazemeet to plan your meetings is to think about the kind of meeting you’re having and schedule accordingly. We’d love to hear the outcome?
Most of the 5 hour work day stories seem to have similar outcomes. Happier staff and increased productivity without a reduction in holiday or staff benefits, everyone wins. Amazing, so why doesn’t it work for everyone and why do we hear so many stories of people trying to implement it failing?
Working a 5 hour day requires real discipline, removing all the extraneous things we do on an average workday. Think about it:
Losing all these things from our workday takes time, effort and discipline and it’s a struggle for most of us. Meetings (well they had to be didn’t they) are probably the biggest culprit, we know they’re a problem. In most cases it hovers between 35% and 50% of our work week spent in meetings, that’s a whopping amount of time! Image what life would be like with better meetings?
Let’s put that into context if you work a 45 hour week that’s 22.5 hours in meetings. Let’s be optimistic and say 50% of that meeting time is wasted, that’s about 11 hours a week. So there’s 2 hours a day saved!!
The rest just requires focus. I’ve been trying this for myself I recently decided to try an approach that focused 100% on tasks. I split this into 2-3 chunks each day of similar tasks and shut off every distraction and non-related activity. It works really well. I’ve found myself rattling through my tasks, making very few errors. More importantly though it’s de-cluttered my brain. My attention is spent working on the tasks at hand, thinking time is built in but it’s not off topic. I’d love to also say I’ve cut down pointless meetings, but we don’t really have those given what we do. I’m drinking less coffee and having breaks when I need them, win.
Try a few things yourself. Turn your phone off for periods during the day, if you plan this well it will coincide with the times when you’re on your phone for non-work stuff. Try not to use chat during certain times, similar to the phone it’s a distraction. Turn your email off and only open it at set times during the day to check and reply.
It all sounds easy but it’s these things we use to break up the day and grab a mental rest, try it for yourself and see how you get on. Let us know we’d love to hear the outcome?
The biggy of course is meetings, try saying no to meetings! Ask yourself the question will I add value? If the answer is no then tell the organiser, they’ll likely thank you for it. When you organise meetings yourself, be disciplined, set an agenda, ask attendees if they feel they can contribute and be disciplined with the follow up.
If you can get close to the calculations we highlighted above you could be saving a whole day in time, that’s massive. The upside is obvious, less stress, more time with family, more time spent doing the things you want to do and more productivity for your company.
So who’s benefiting from Amazemeet?
After all Amazemeet is a broad church, that’s certainly true of our user base, and so it should be as everyone deserves to have better, effective meetings. We speak to the Amazemeet community regularly so we thought we’d share the story of three people in very different roles and how they have used Amazemeet to free up time and make the meetings they do have better.
Johnny works at one of the big global IT companies. He’s got a hybrid role where he travels extensively and when he’s not he’s on video calls and conferences regularly. Because his time is often taken up travelling he wanted a way to make the meetings he does have more efficient. Amazemeet ticks that box perfectly. Using the platform Johnny can tailor each meeting so the attendees, timings, timescale and outcomes are all clearly laid out and defined. Shareable notes make it easy for him to catch up and keep everyone informed, especially around tasks and next steps."Amazemeet helps me stay organised and keeps my meetings efficient so i can spend time doing work not just reviewing work" Click To Tweet
Like a lot of people he’s found that using Amazemeet has really streamlined his meetings he and allows him to spend more time “doing” his job. This is essential because his role demands a lot of meetings. He’s now in a place where he spends far less of his evening’s catching up on actual work.
Like a lot of people Kat left her role in a large consulting firm for the more flexible world of freelancing. Or so she thought. As she took on more clients she found herself having more and more meetings and spending more time account managing than actually delivering. Her goal was twofold, get her client contact under control and get her life back. Amazemeet helped with both. All Kat’s client meetings are run on Amazemeet and the client feedback is impressive."My clients love that I use Amazemeet, if nothing else they know my time is spent on my work for them not drinking coffee with them." Click To Tweet
Amazemeet has allowed her to structure her client meetings with clear goals and all invitees can be kept up to date with follow-ons. Much like Johnny getting the time back from meandering meetings has freed up time for work and her home life. Maybe the 5 hour working day is insight!
This is a familiar story. Start-up gets funded and grows, does well, has round two investment, grows some more. Somebody then realises that process and management haven’t grown, meetings take forever, there are too many with too many attendees. We’ve been there!"We recognised we need to start operating like grown ups, meetings were a good place to start." Click To Tweet
Peter was desperate to find a way to get out of the bad meeting cycle that had taken hold. In fact many companies are experiencing this they just don’t recognise it. So as they say recognition of a problem is the first step to solving it. Pete started by trialling the free version, he liked it and soon all the companies meetings were being run via the platform. Time saved, he estimates, is up to 25% of the working week across the whole company, OK there’s only 35 people but that’s a hell of a lot of time.
So the next time you ask the question, who’s benefitting from Amazemeet, think of Johnny, Kat and Pete. I’m sure their stories are familiar. Better still why not tell us your story we’d love to hear it and share with the Amazemeet community. More importantly if you’re stuck in a cycle of bad meetings let us know, we can help.
I had the most amazing thing happen to me today. Totally unexpected but turned out to be one of the best feelings of the day.
Today was the the day I had penned in my calendar to make the donations that we promised to make as our Christmas gift – the one that we asked you to help direct.
I checked our counter and the results were humbling – and close!
Over 900 of you – Amazemeeters – responded to our Christmas Giving email and selected where you would like us to donate our $500 gift. The results were close, in 1st place was Climate Change and tied in 2nd place were Refugees and Children focused causes. In the end we decided to split the donation 250/125/125 so that each of these really important causes got something of our gift.
As I made the donation on each site and received the notifications of gratitude, I felt such a profound sense of contributing to something that otherwise seems so insurmountable. I felt proud that in a small way, we could help make a difference and for that I am incredibly grateful to each one of the Amazemeet users who engaged in this campaign.
There are Amazemeet users all over the world, so it was fitting that we picked some organisations that addressed climate change, refugee and child welfare on a global scale.
For climate change we selected the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) – a truly international partnership of governments and organisations , communities that together have 90% of the world’s remaining rainforests under their management. They have an incredible duty and burden to protect this for all of Earth’s inhabitants.
To support refugees, we chose the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – the arm of the UN that is first on the scene when refugee crises happen, deploying vital aid and logistics to help those affected to get through it. In recent years – through conflict, environmental disaster, economic meltdown – they have been stretched to the limits and still they are there.
Finally to help the cause of welfare of children, we selected UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund – a UN agency that operates in 190 nations helping to uphold the rights of children to education, nutrition, health, equality and other incredibly important needs that many in the world take for granted. Unicef does this both at strategic levels with governments and in the field – for example leading childhood immunisation against nasty diseases like cholera, measles and others.
Meetings can be amazing but people hate meetings, that’s certainly the feedback we get from the countless companies we’ve worked with over the years. The idea of constant meetings fills most people with dread because they know what will happen. The meeting will amble, no clear conclusions will be drawn, Dave from finance will go off on a tangent!
We’ve lost the ability to have good productive meetings because we simply have too many. Technology has transformed business but in some areas, meetings, it’s actually made it too easy to have them. Like any drug we’ve embraced this full steam and in some cases employees are spending nearly 50% of their working week in meetings. That’s not healthy and it’s certainly not productive.
Some of the common complaints about meetings:
This is just a snapshot there are a lot more reasons why meetings fail. But, happily there are some really simple things we can do to fix it.
The meeting canvas is somewhat of a foolproof way to get to better meetings but the lessons can be adopted regardless. The crux of good meetings is organisation; the right attendees, clear outcomes and objectives, time allotted to discuss specific problems and a meeting facilitator to stick to the plan.
That maybe sounds like a lot for your next meeting so introduce things a step at a time. A really simple, but effective, first step is to say no to meetings. If it’s unclear why or how you will add value to a meeting just don’t go. It’s pretty easy to tell the organiser that you won’t add value as the meeting isn’t relevant to you. It’s a pretty empowering step to take but it might actually encourage others to do the same and then hopefully you’ll cut down on meetings and start having the ones you need.
Whatever the situation know this. Meetings can be amazing, recognising it’s a problem in your corporate culture is the first step to fixing it and taking back control of your working time and having the meetings you need.