Having a meeting may be necessary, but it will always take up valuable time. So to get the most out of your working day, keeping any meeting as short as possible makes sense.
This is where the ‘micro meeting’ can be an extremely useful tool, giving you the chance to delegate a complex piece of work to a number of people with clarity as well as brevity. It also avoids the endless round of emails that can create their own cyber-bureaucracy.
But how should you go about setting up a micro meeting? Here are some points to help.
Set the agenda, in this case, a skinny one. A single item may suffice, possibly broken down into the key points those attending need to address and take forward. Be clear about the end goal in other words, what you want everyone to know when it’s over.
Be clear about timing. If you want the meeting to last for 10 minutes, say so. This will help everyone stay focused on what they need to say or find out, rather than go into ‘meeting waffle’ mode.
Stand up. It may sound harsh, but we actually spend far too much time sitting down. One recent survey found Britons spend more than 36 years sitting down during their lifetime, or 14 hours and 28 minutes a day. Standing at meetings won’t do anyone any harm, but they will be anxious to sit down after.
Be choosy. Don’t just round up all the usual suspects. Make sure that only key people are present they can debrief relevant colleagues afterwards. Keeping it short means keeping it small.
Delegate. The beauty of a micro meeting is that it is a tool to get things done. Everyone who attends should leave with a job to do, and be clear about what that is.
Summarise. Even after a short meeting, don’t assume that its remit is obvious. Sum up and spell out why the meeting was important, and ask for questions.
Set up another one. No one will object to attending another micro meeting, which takes less time than it does to read a few emails. Agree to follow up on the actions agreed on at the previous meeting.