Published: 5 months ago

Batch Your Meetings

Productivity enthusiasts have long heralded the benefits of batching tasks: holding on to those random things until you have them in a neat pile and then tackling them all at once. Examples include only answering emails a couple of times a day, but then holding an email marathon; preparing all meals for the week on Sunday night; or saving all incoming calls and returning them at a fixed time at the end of the day.

For the last year or so, our team has been experimenting with batching our meetings. We host several of those suckers over the course of a typical month:

  • Eight months out of the year we host a gathering for our high-capacity volunteers,
  • Every month we have an “all hands” meeting for our First Impressions Campus Directors,
  • Once a month I meet with Campus Pastors to catch them up on things from our team,
  • Once a quarter we host a “Lunch and Learn” for newer staff members to train them on First Impressions.

As crazy as it sounds, we discovered that it was way more efficient to schedule all of those meetings on the same day, rather than spreading them out over multiple weeks.

And today is that day. Our team kicks off a seven hour meeting marathon with stuff at 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12:00 p.m. It will be exhausting. Somewhat mind-numbing. And maybe a little bit crazy. But here are the benefits:

  • We only have to set up a meeting room once, and make slight adjustments through the day.
  • Off-site staff members who have to be at more than one meeting only have to travel in one time.
  • We can often align complementary topics so we’re releasing pertinent info all on the same day to different groups of people.

Is this an easy plan? Not a chance. We work like mad to prepare agendas, develop slide decks, and copy handouts. But we do all of that for one all-or-nothing day, and then it’s over. We don’t have to waste time and energy performing similar tasks in a repetitive fashion for meetings throughout the month.

Have you considered batching your meetings? Have you given it a shot? Comment below.

 

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3 Comments.
  1. Amanda Stanton says:

    Love this! I’m assuming the 6:30am meeting is for the high capacity volunteers (because of work schedules). Do you have any struggles with the attendance? What do you do for those who can’t attend the meeting?

  2. Warren Wilson says:

    Love this concept! What do you do for the people who don’t/can’t make the meeting/training? Do you have a makeup session? Do you follow up using video or written minutes/notes?

    • Danny says:

      Amanda and Warren, these are great questions! You may have inspired a future blog post. 🙂

      Correct: the 6:30 meeting for HCVs is due to work schedules. Occasionally there will be a “I have to be at work meeting early” or a “Travel for work” issue. But when HCV’s sign up for the 8 month commitment, they know the meeting dates and are asked to work around them.

      For those who can’t be there (or oversleep!), I provide a complete agenda with (most) notes, all handouts, and links to anything pertinent we talk about. At this point, I don’t record the meetings – because a lot of what we do is table discussion – but that could potentially happen in the future.

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