Are You Bogged Down with Too Many Meetings?
March 30, 2022
Have you ever been in a meeting and thought to yourself, “this could have been an email”? Short-form video might be the answer.
In a recent FastCompany article, experience design leader Klaus Heesch explains how leaders can share ideas and get buy-in without having meeting after meeting. His solution is to utilize short-form videos – where you put all your thoughts and ideas into a quick video to share with the team, who can then watch and react in their own time.
There are two types of short-form videos for this purpose:
- The 4-minute Update – For an example of this, watch this video of Disney’s Chairman of Parks, Josh D’Amaro give a walk-through of updates at Walt Disney World. It’s an easy way to get out your corporate updates without having to find a time on everyone’s calendar that works. They can watch it on their own time when it works best for them.
- The Thought Starter – This type of video is a good way to prep for a larger meeting and an easy way to gather input and feedback on ideas that will be discussed at that meeting. It’s a good method to use when you are looking to gather interest and feedback on new ideas. For an example, view this video by Light CoCreative that was sent to gauge interest and collect ideas around food and finance. They created the video from a PowerPoint deck.
When creating short-form videos, Heesch gives five main points to consider:
- Keep it Brief – He suggests keeping videos under five minutes. Also be sure to ask for feedback by a certain date.
- Start with Value – Begin the video by explaining what you are intending to communicate and listing the key points that will be made.
- Make it Visual – Utilize PowerPoint slides or overlay keywords and phrases to keep the video interesting.
- Show and Ask (Not Tell) – Just like in advertising, be sure you have a strong call to action. End the video with an invitation for viewers to give feedback. Be specific about how you’d prefer to receive the feedback – email, call, fill out a form, etc. Also consider utilizing channels such as Slack or Teams.
I like these creative ideas for reducing meetings. Many larger organizations have likely been doing this, but it might be time for even smaller organizations such as ASE to consider using videos. ASE has not utilized video communications yet, but I might consider it in the future.
While we can reduce meetings, in reality, we all still have necessary meetings. In a blog in April 2021, I wrote about some ways to improve the productivity and effectiveness of meetings that I think bears repeating:
- Establish an agenda with objectives. Everyone attending the meeting should know exactly what is going to be discussed and what they will be expected to share. There is nothing worse than walking into a meeting when you have no idea what it is about or if you’ll be expected to present any information. Allow meeting attendees to prepare, which will result in a productive, efficient meeting.
- Allow for Independent Brainstorming. If you’re looking for new ideas, provide the brainstorming questions ahead of time. Ask the meeting attendees to come prepared to discuss their ideas and give each person floor time. Otherwise, you risk only the most confident, outspoken team members speaking up and presenting their ideas.
- Utilize Round Robins. Again, this allows everyone to speak up. Give team members the option to pass, but it allows those that tend to stay quiet during meetings or are often spoken over to share their thoughts in a safe environment.
- Offer Blind Voting. Blind voting is a great way to gather opinions without those lacking seniority succumbing to peer pressure of those around them. Some examples would include using anonymous polls or google forms. Otherwise, it’s often the most senior team members or the loudest who get their voices heard and others follow along.
- Set Next Steps. Before ending the meeting, always recap what was decided and what the next steps are. Make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them and by when.
ASE has utilized many of these methods to improve our meetings. We often review our recurring meetings to identify where there is overlap and have been able to reduce the amount of meetings we have by doing so. We also produced a meeting agenda template that we utilize for all meetings.