1000 days

Today is the thousandth day since the start of the pandemic, and we still haven’t figured out how to hold efficient meetings online.Here’s a useful resource:

A practical guide to Remote & Hybrid Communications – Berkeley Executive Education

From Robbie Leftwich-Vann:

In an effort to try to create some free space in people’s calendars (that is, non-meeting space), we’d like to use the following guidelines regarding meeting scheduling and management. This won’t magically free up hours per day for each of us but, if we are disciplined about it, I am hopeful that it’s a step in the right direction.

Please follow these guidelines:

1. Consider using the Google Calendar option of scheduling “1 hour” meetings for 50 minutes and “half hour” meetings for 25 minutes. Leave a few minutes between meetings for people to get ready for the next activity. This can be set in calendar settings.

2. Review invitation lists for all recurring meetings – make only core invitees mandatory, anyone else should be listed as “optional”. Before you attend a meeting, check to see if you are optional and then make your determination about attendance.

3. Consider designating specific team members to cover a given, recurring meeting and then have that person summarize to the rest of the team. This would work best for “update” type meetings.

4. All meetings should have agendas (even if it’s just a couple of bullets) and outcomes should be clearly stated (preferably in writing). Agendas should state mandatory vs. optional attendees if they are not static.

5. Barring emergency, meetings should not be scheduled for the 12-1 PM hour. Please try to respect that and don’t grab that “open” time slot.

6. Review all of the recurring meetings for which you are the owner. Can the frequency be reduced? Can the duration be reduced? How about the invitation list?

7. When there is an expectation that people who are onsite should attend in person, that should be clearly stated in the invitation. If there is a conference room on the invitation and you are at the Lab, please make the effort to get there.

8. Virtual (Zoom) attendees should keep video on with few exceptions (this does not apply to virtual reviews where we’d like video off unless you are the presenter).

9. Start and end meetings on time. I think this one doesn’t require a lot of explanation.

Here are a few helpful resources:

What is an effective meeting:

How to prepare for a meeting:

6 simple tips for better meetings:

If you have other ideas, please let me know!