Should You Ban Recurring Meetings?

Recurring Meetings: Efficient or Waste of Time?

Familiar with the term ‘recurring meetings’?  Recurring meetings repeat on your calendar on a periodic basis. They are a scheduling shortcut for the meeting organizer, so they don’t have to manually set each one up.  You can set up a meeting that occurs at the same time of a day, a week, or a month. You can set a recurring meeting for a few consecutive days or you can set it to infinity.

However, most of us don’t realize, these meetings have been a crutch in the work world for way too long, and it’s time for a change.

Imagine if there were no recurring meetings and if we had to intentionally set up a new meeting each time:

  • There would be less meaningless meetings (and thus wasted time) because many would just drop off the calendar and into oblivion.
  • Meeting would become more valuable because there would be a clear purpose behind each meeting.

So here’s the big idea: Cancel all recurring meetings, unless they are essential. And, if you are organizing a recurring meeting, make sure you follow some guidelines to get the most out of them.

When Are Recurring Meetings Essential?

The only recurring meetings should be monthly or quarterly reviews that look at what was discussed, agreed, and executed from the prior meetings.  If a recurring weekly meeting is absolutely necessary, make brevity a priority. To make them more productive, these meetings should have a specific outcome based on the agenda that was set.

You shouldn’t rehash previous meetings and talk about the same things over and over. If this is the case then you have failed to benefit from the meeting because you did not have a clear objective behind the meeting in the first place.

Apart from these, you may have to set up some recurring meetings related to specific projects or issues.

How to Make the Most Out of Recurring Meetings?

An objective: Whether it’s a recurring or a non-recurring meeting, it should have a clear objective and a purpose. Before calling a meeting, make sure there’s a strong reason behind it. When calling out the meeting, include the objective clearly in the subject line and the body of the meeting invitation.

End dates: All recurring meetings should have end dates. These could be after a few weeks or months. At the end of the specified end date, you should review the effectiveness of these meetings and decide whether you need to set up another series of meetings with the same attendees.

Proactively manage attendees: If you set up a recurring meeting that involves a group, consciously manage your list of attendees. If some attendees are not needed after a few meetings, it is better to remove them from the invitee list to allow them to use their time more productively. Most people are happy to be removed from the list of invitees in a recurring meeting, though you need to communicate the reason behind their removal to avoid any misunderstanding.

Final Thoughts

I’d like to reiterate the only recurring meetings should be the regular monthly or quarterly review meetings. However, if there’s an unavoidable business need for a recurring meeting, use these tips to get the most out of them.

To productive and meaningful meetings,

Ben

P.S: Download my free report, The Catastrophic Cost of Quitting: How Organizations and Employees Pay the Ultimate Price