Meetings: To Attend or Not to Attend?

October 29, 2013

I personally have noticed that the GTD community is one of the most active and engaging online communities. Participants have developed their own ways to master productivity and enjoy sharing in their discoveries. I like to see what works and doesn’t work for others, and then try out the tips that resonate with my own life. In my recent search for productivity tips, I came across this article. Although I’ve seen most of the addressed tips before, I was struck by one of them, tip #2: Avoid meetings like the plague. I felt compelled to share in my own successes with meetings, and “lack” of meetings.

On the surface, meetings seem unavoidable. An invitation implies that your presence is required, and failure to attend will result in missed information or lost opportunity. However, with the recent introduction of social to the workplace, there are means of participating in a meeting without even being there. And that is pretty powerful.

In the article, author Ilya Pozin says that if you can’t make a meeting, or can only be present for a short time, “catch up on notes later.” This, I believe, is the golden message, and where the power of social comes into play.

Let’s step back and think about what makes up a meeting:

  1. Established goal
  2. Meeting details
  3. Iterative agenda
  4. Discussion and collaboration
  5. Shared synopsis

What drives these components? Communication. Thanks to social, we can communicate around these essential parts in one place. And what does that offer the person who can’t make the meeting? Everything.

Allow me to explain – social collaboration tools offer you the ability to plan, discuss, and share around a meeting in one, organized place. If someone can’t make the meeting, the only thing they are missing out on is the actual discussion at the meeting. But this is where such things as real-time note taking and shared meeting minutes make it easy to feel caught up and included. Social allows you to turn your typical, time-wasting meetings into effective uses of your time, and ultimately cut back on the number of meetings that you have.

Want to truly harness the power of social for your meetings? Try not having one at all, and just communicate around your goal or purpose directly in the tool.

As Pozin says, “Avoid meetings like the plague.” We don’t need them as much as we think we do.

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