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How to Reduce Meetings: 7 Proven Ways to Cut Out Meetings

Max Gayler
September 29, 2023
Remote Works

Time is money and productivity is paramount. Sounds like a wannabe business influencer but translated into human language it means this…

We’re wasting too much time in meetings

But how do you cut down on these time-consuming gatherings without sacrificing collaboration and communication? Let’s take a look at 7 proven ways to reduce meetings.

What is an unnecessary meeting?

Put simply, a gathering that could have been handled more efficiently through other means, like email, chat, or asynchronous video communication.

Unnecessary meetings tend to be time-consuming, often lacking a clear agenda or objective, leaving participants feeling like they've wasted their valuable time.

How do you know you're having too many meetings?

Several telltale signs can indicate that you're drowning in meetings and therefore, need to reduce your meetings:

Your calendar is full

If your calendar resembles a colorful mosaic of back-to-back meetings, it's time to reassess your scheduling habits. Overbooked calendars leave little room for focused work, resulting in decreased productivity.

Your productivity is down

A study by Atlassian found that the average employee spends over 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. These meetings can disrupt your flow and hinder your ability to tackle important tasks.

You're missing deadlines

When meetings monopolize your time, it becomes challenging to meet deadlines and complete projects efficiently. Missed deadlines can lead to increased stress and a negative impact on your professional reputation. It looks like you need to find out how to reduce your meetings.

You're procrastinating in meetings

Constantly checking your email or multitasking during meetings is a sign that they're not engaging or relevant. This behavior not only wastes your time but also undermines the purpose of the meeting.

Why should you reduce your meetings?

It's not just a matter of convenience; there are concrete reasons why reducing meetings is crucial for your mental health and productivity:

  • Meeting Overload: On average, employees attend 62 meetings per month, with middle managers spending nearly 35% of their time in meetings. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Mental Health: Over 70% of employees report experiencing some degree of burnout, and excessive meetings are a leading contributor to this problem. (Gallup)
  • Productivity: Only 56% of meeting time is productive, costing companies an estimated $399 billion in wasted time. (Doodle)

Types of meetings you should miss

Not all meetings are created equal, and there are instances where it's perfectly acceptable to decline or miss a meeting in order to reduce your meetings. Here are some common meeting types you might consider skipping:

  • Status update meetings: These meetings are often information dumps and can be replaced with well-structured asynchronous videos.
  • Recurring meetings: If a recurring meeting doesn't provide consistent value, it might be time to reconsider its necessity.
  • Meetings with vague agendas: If the purpose of the meeting isn't clear, request clarification or consider whether it's worth attending.

Now, let's explore the seven proven ways to reduce meetings:

#1. Replace meetings with asynchronous videos

Claap's intelligent video wiki allows you to record video updates or presentations at your convenience and share them with your team. This asynchronous approach means your colleagues can view the content when it suits them, reducing the need for live meetings. Studies show that asynchronous communication can increase productivity by up to 18%. (Gartner)

#2. Start recording your meetings

Recording meetings can be a game-changer. By capturing the discussion, you enable absent team members to catch up at their convenience. This not only reduces the need for additional catch-up meetings but also ensures everyone stays informed and aligned.

Using tools like Claap anyone can record a meeting that comes with a transcript and AI-generated summary.

#3. Reduce your meetings with a "no meeting" day

Sometimes you just need some “me” time. Designate one day a week as a "no meeting" day. This gives you uninterrupted time to focus on important tasks, fostering productivity and creativity. It's a simple yet powerful strategy to regain control over your schedule.

#4. Start saying "no" to meetings

Don't be afraid to decline meetings that don't align with your priorities or provide value to your role. 

This is obviously a hard topic of conversation for a lot of people. We suggest politely decline and suggest alternative ways to achieve the desired outcome. Sharing async videos is a great suggestion.

#5. Book meetings with yourself

Schedule dedicated blocks of time in your calendar for focused work, just as you would for meetings. This ensures you have the time and space needed to tackle important tasks without interruptions. If you’re looking for a quick way to reduce meetings, this is one to try right now.

#6. Start tracking how long your meetings take

Use time-tracking tools like HourStack or Timely to monitor the duration of your meetings. Analyze the data to identify opportunities for making meetings more efficient or eliminating them altogether.

Not everyone likes having their hours tracked like this so make sure to speak to your team before implementing any time tracking software.

#7. Use AI to reduce your meetings

What if you could watch a 1 hour meeting in 1 minute? Using tools like Claap, you can instantly get automatic transcriptions, summaries, and insights from your meetings and async videos. 

Any time your attendance isn’t crucial for the meeting. Ask them to record it with Claap and read the AI summary instead.

Streamline your communication, make informed decisions faster, and drastically reduce the need for meetings. 

How to reduce meetings AND get more done using Claap

Claap is your secret weapon in the quest to reduce meetings and boost productivity. Here's how Claap can help you achieve these goals:

  • Transcripts: Claap automatically transcribes your meetings and video content, making it easy to review discussions without the need for time-consuming note-taking.
  • Summaries: Create AI-generated summaries of your meetings, ensuring that you stay informed without dedicating hours to lengthy discussions.
  • Searchable content: Easily search for specific quotes within your meeting recordings and videos, saving you time when you need to reference past conversations. You can even integrate with Notion to keep all your meeting notes in one place.
  • Knowledge sharing: Share video content and insights with your team asynchronously, reducing the need for real-time meetings.
  • Increased efficiency: Claap empowers you to make quicker, data-driven decisions by providing valuable insights from your video content like who watched it, when, and a way to digest it in seconds, not hours. 

Studies show that using asynchronous communication tools like Claap can save employees an average of 16 minutes per day, translating to nearly 2 weeks per year. (Buffer)

By implementing these proven strategies and leveraging innovative tools like Claap, you can cut out unnecessary meetings, regain control of your schedule, and achieve more in less time. Say goodbye to meeting overload and hello to a more efficient and enjoyable work life.

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