Streamlining decision making: Unveiling the art of reducing meetings to boost productivity

Learn strategies to reduce meetings and boost your productivity in the workplace. Improve the efficiency and collaboration of your team today.


Rishi Desikan




Rishi Desikan

6 minutes

In our respective work environments, things move fast-paced and we need to be able to execute tasks in short frames of time. With this in mind, universally it is said that meetings slow us down because they absorb valuable chunks of time. Though they provide us with ways to improve collaboration and decision making, often they can run exhaustingly long and impede our productivity. Given that this is the case, the question of how we can improve our decision making process whilst reducing the amount of meetings we hold becomes more peculiar. If you find yourself wondering what you can do to boost your productivity and minimize the excessive meetings you have, this blog post is for you. Let’s explore some effective techniques, and real-time examples to help you streamline your workflow and achieve optimal efficiency.

Embrace Asynchronous Communication

Remote work is becoming more common in a variety of industries. With this being the case, asynchronous communication has gained popularity and is implemented more frequently within corporations. Some tools that make it feasible include emails, instant messaging, project management software, and digital collaborative documents. Teams are able to access said tools from the comfort of their own homes thus reducing the necessity for real-time recurring meetings. For example, rather than holding a meeting regarding status updates, team members can make use of project management software like Asana or Trello to be review any changes from within the company. These softwares enable employees to track progress, leave comments, and address any questions or concerns on specific projects or corporate matters. Since these tasks can all be completed virtually, in-person meetings that take up more time can be avoided, thus increasing productivity.

Prioritize Agenda-Driven Meetings:

Meeting are often run longer than anticipated, because the objectives of the meeting have not been clarified or stuck to in entirety. This leads to an unnecessary waste of time and prevents you from making use of the commitment that you and fellow team members made to meet in person. To avoid having unproductive meeting madness, be sure to always establish a well-defined agenda for every meeting you schedule. In this agenda, define all the topics you are going to discuss, assign time limits for each agenda item, and advise all other participants to come to the meeting prepared. If you are able to go through this checklist, your will have more productive meetings, and decisions will be reached in a more efficient manner. At Company ABC, the product development team has begun implementing a defined “meeting agenda policy.” Prior to every meeting commencing, the team leader distributes an outlined agenda that details time allocations for each item of the meeting. This heads-up allows all participants to gather necessary information in advance, making the overall flow of the meeting faster and easier.

Opt for Stand-Up or Huddle Meetings:

As mentioned earlier, traditional real-time meetings can go overtime due to unnecessary discussions or lengthy digressions. To combat this issue, opt for stand-up or huddle meetings. As per the name, these types of meetings are held with all participants standing. Standing encourages brevity and keeps the overall energy level high. While sitting or slouching, we tend to be more concerned with comfortability which is why the root of some of our conversations don’t get established early on. Stand-up meetings are intended to get team members to quickly share updates, discuss roadblocks, and identify action items.

Take for example some broadcast companies. Sometimes the engineering department will hold daily meetings in stand-up format to enhance communication and the decision-making process. Each team member is given a time limit of 2 minutes to provide any valuable insight into what they have been doing. They can also use this time to highlight any blockers in the work-space. Doing so allows all team members to be on the same page, and in a timely fashion that doesn’t stop them from returning to the difficult tasks they have to complete on their own.

Leverage Collaborative Decision Making Tools:

Expediting the decision-making process can be tricky, but that is why we should aim to make use of tools that promote real-time collaboration and voting. Not only do these platforms facilitate input and from different team members across different locations or time zones, but they do so in a way where nobody has to drop the work they are doing in their specific area to attend a meeting and collaborate. In a marketing campaign planning process at a television firm, instead of holding multiple meetings to generate ideas, the team used collaborative decision-making tools like Miro and Google Jamboard. These tools allowed them to brainstorm ideas, vote on them asynchronously, and identify the most promising concepts in their own time. Doing so saved the team countless hours meeting to plan the marketing campaign, and accelerated their decision-making process ten fold!

How reducing meetings can improve our decision making

Though meetings are an integral part of modern work culture, finding ways to conduct fewer meetings can improve productivity and contribute to accelerated decision-making. By embracing asynchronous communication, prioritizing agenda-driven meetings, opting for stand-up or huddle meetings, and leveraging collaborative decision making tools, you can optimize the process of reaching successful outcomes and streamline your workflow dramatically.

It's essential to break old patterns and rely on more efficient methods. Regular updates, recorded or shared through a project management tool, can keep everyone informed and connected, reducing the reliance on excessive meetings (1-3 times a week). Embracing virtual communication, templates, and drafts for updates can help everyone manage their time better, promoting autonomy and reducing the need for constant check-ins. It's time to combat "meeting madness" by assessing when a meeting is truly necessary and ensuring that it adds value to the team's progress. By adopting this approach, the workplace can thrive with less time spent in meetings and more time dedicated to actual work, ultimately boosting morale, productivity, and overall organizational improvement.