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How to reduce meetings: Try these 7 strategies


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Is your day drowning with too many meetings? Are you looking for ways to reduce the number of meetings in your day? You’re not alone. In fact, meetings have increased by 12.9% since 2020.1 If you need to have fewer meetings to get more done, you’ve come to the right place. 

That’s not great news for your productivity. Harvard research found that 70% of meetings keep employees from doing productive work. The same study found that employee productivity was 71% higher when meetings were reduced by 40% and employee satisfaction rose by 52%.2  

So, how can we buck this new trend of more meetings and get our productivity back on track?

Let’s get into it:

Signs you’re having too many meetings

Many employees are experiencing meeting fatigue, a phenomenon in which people feel physically and mentally drained due to meetings. However, the question around “how many meetings is too many?” is tricky, because everyone is different. What we do know is that meeting culture has changed, and it’s time to fix how we collaborate remotely. Here are some tell-tale signs that you may be having too many meetings.

There is no meeting agenda 

If there is no meeting agenda, the meeting most likely does not need to happen. In one study, 67% of professionals listed having a clear agenda as the way to have a successful meeting.3 Use this meeting invite template to ensure that all attendees need to be there and can come prepared to get agenda items handled. 

People aren’t participating during meetings

If there is no discussion to be had and your audience is not engaged, this is a sign you are having too many meetings. In a recent study, when asked what factors make for an unsuccessful meeting, 28% of respondents put the blame on lack of participant preparation.4 Without good prep and participation, meeting attendees simply fail to add anything productive to the process.

Productivity is down 

If you have noticed there are more meetings, but projects are taking longer to complete, you may have a case of too many meetings on your hands. Here’s a look at the results of a survey of 76 companies that reduced their meetings over the course of 14 months and found that employee productivity and satisfaction increased, while stress levels decreased.

7 strategies to cut back on having too many meetings 

Ready to clear your schedule with fewer meetings? Check out these tips to cut back and free up your day.

1. Use team communication apps to replace regular check-ins

We’ll admit that we love a good video conference at RingCentral, but if your aim is to reduce the total number of meetings, you should also invest in beneficial virtual meeting tools that also allow for non-video conferencing interactions. Look for communications solutions that include team messaging options and phone options to reduce actual meeting times.  Let’s be honest. Sometimes a quick call or text  is a highly effective way to collaborate with a colleague.

Reduce meetings with team messaging

2. Record meetings for optional attendees

Does your video conferencing software have an option to record virtual meetings? If so, make sure you press Record before diving into important topics.

Once the meeting is over and the recording is available, you can share it with anyone who was unable to attend. That way, everyone stays in the loop without feeling overwhelmed. Here’s how easily it works in RingCentral Meeting Insights:

Reduce meetings: Record and share meetings

3. Artificial intelligence (AI) can mean fewer meetings for your team

Conversation intelligence is artificial intelligence that analyzes, you guessed it, conversations. This technology pulls out all kinds of helpful insights, and it’s now available on some video conferencing platforms!

For example, with RingCentral Meeting Insights, you can:

  • Catch the video “highlight reel” of a meeting you missed, which sums up all the important points
  • Skim the meeting “cliff notes” of the meeting on the go
  • Search a virtual meeting transcript for specific topics or speakers
  • And more!

Have fewer meetings with conversational intelligence

4. Create action items to share after the meeting

Give your team members fewer meetings with an easy-to-read, bulleted list of takeaways from any meeting you run. Share it out with attendees via email or your team messaging app, and be sure to bold or @ tag any team members who have action items. That way, nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Or even better: let your video meeting platform jot down your action items for you! With an app like RingCentral, you’ll get AI-generated summaries of recorded RingCentral Video meetings for attendees to review afterwards.

5. Block personal time off on the calendar

Block off time to ensure that you can get your work done. Maybe you are a dynamo first thing in the morning and can just plow through the work and get things done. Block off this time on your calendar as your “me” time, with no meetings allowed. Or maybe you like to answer emails just before you leave for the day. You might block off time from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to crank out those emails. You can always ask a colleague to take meeting notes if you think there may be something valuable to look over later. Blocking off time to concentrate distraction-free on high-value tasks is a proven productivity booster and adheres to the principles of “deep work.”

6. Meet face-to-face more frequently

If possible, plan and select certain days or times each month or quarter to meet with colleagues in person. This will reduce the need for frequent virtual meetings and allow teams to focus on larger initiatives, while also strengthening interpersonal connections.

7. Get comfortable saying “no”

It’s perfectly fine to decline a meeting invitation sometimes. Make smart decisions about when and where to use this superpower. Say no to meetings when you know your input won’t actually be needed. Remember that you are accountable for how you spend your work time. Learning to politely decline a meeting invitation may be one of the most underrated but impactful ways to own your work responsibilities fully.

Pro tip: If you’re not quite comfortable yet with a simple “no,” suggest an alternative method for collaboration instead. This method ensures that you can still share important information and ideas with your colleagues without getting roped into an endless stream of meetings for the sake of meetings.

Reduce meetings and increase productivity with RingCentral

The research is clear. Too many meetings hampers productivity, leads to employee dissatisfaction, and makes business profits plummet. 

Reducing the number of meetings is a great way to avoid these problems. With proper planning and the right communications solution from RingCentral, you can manage your meetings appropriately. With RingCentral, you can also leverage team messaging, video, and voice—all provided in one centralized communications solution. Collaborate across multiple channels, all while avoiding unnecessary meetings. See how RingCentral works today.





Originally published Mar 21, 2023, updated Nov 03, 2023

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