Regular meetings are an essential component of business operations, as they help get everyone on the same page and working toward the same goals. The problem arises however when teams get called into frequent, unnecessary meetings, wasting everybody’s time with something that could have been easily communicated through other channels. So how can business leaders address this issue and streamline their organization’s meetings to save time and drive their team’s productivity?

1. Create Time Blocks

Create a time block during the week when no meetings are held. This not only works to cancel out some unnecessary meetings, but it gives everyone dedicated time to have focused work hours without the worry of rushing off to another meeting. The key is to balance scheduled meetings of substance with actual hours dedicated solely to executing the insights gleaned from the meetings. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

2. Ask Your Team

Morale and productivity plummet when employees feel their time is wasted. One solution is to ask your team to write a short meeting journal, noting what a meeting achieved from their perspective. Was it useful? Was it clear what outcomes the meeting was supposed to achieve? Is a meeting the best way to achieve those outcomes? Use the journals to get rid of time-wasting and unproductive meetings. – Corey Northcutt, Northcutt Enterprise SEO

3. Encourage and Reward Innovation

Too many meetings will lead to low engagement. Low engagement leads to a decline in fresh ideas and new perspectives. Bring your meetings back to life by encouraging and rewarding innovation. Invite new solutions to old problems. Try out the new ideas and celebrate them — even if they don’t work. Start using meetings to build the muscle memory of creative problem-solving. – Nick Heethuis, GrowthFireIO Inc.

4. Clarify Operations Across All Departments

If you or your team spend too much time on meetings, then you need to make operations across all departments clearer. That many meetings must mean that there is confusion and a lack of clarity between employees, so providing additional training prevents that. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

5. Only Have Them When Needed

The problem appears when employees don’t take the meetings seriously. For example, if you have a meeting every Monday morning and there’s just not that much to talk about, you’re probably too focused on having them. To correct that, only conduct meetings when there’s actually a few good reasons to have one. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

6. Consider the Meeting Times

The length of each session can be a deciding factor when you want to assess whether your employees are spending too much time in meetings. For instance, three meetings can be a good or bad thing, depending on the length of the meeting. If each encounter lasts five minutes, that’s 15 minutes of their time. When your meetings run on too long, consider creating a planner to speed up the process. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

7. Empower Staff

Are people inviting people to meetings because that is what has always done? Each meeting should have a specific purpose and agenda. The only people who should be invited are those who are essential to the agenda. A set of actions should be produced as a result of that meeting. Train staff to take responsibility for their role and give them some leeway to make decisions within their role. – Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing

8. Conduct a Platform Audit

Regularly audit your platforms that schedule meetings and track projects. This can be an administrative task delegated to an executive assistant or within teams, but make sure you regulate the number of irons in the fire each team member has to prevent burnout. We use Slack and Asana and perform audits to make sure projects are closed on the platform — it can be done at the same time and monthly. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

9. Implement EOS

I believe it’s less about telling team members they’re involved in too many meetings and more about making the meetings more efficient and productive. One way to do this is through implementing the EOS process. This system provides practical tools for running meetings successfully to get you the results you want. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors