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Are Meetings Really Necessary? 5 Alternatives to Outlook Invites.

Have you ever dreamt of becoming a human calendar app? That’s the unintentional reality of many mid-level and executive managers. Your days are a glorious montage of "synergy sessions" and "action item deep dives". Ie., meetings with a fancy vocabulary problem. 

Sure, everyone's "in the loop," but by the time you escape the meeting vortex, your brain feels like mush and your to-do list mocks you from the corner. 

Meetings are the office version of a black hole - they suck in your time, creativity, and will to live. Isn't it time we stopped worshipping at the altar of the conference room and got back to, you know, actually doing work? 

Beyond Meetings: Alternatives for Effective Communication 

The good news is that meetings aren't always the answer. Here are some effective alternatives to consider: 

  1. Start with a Question: What are you trying to accomplish? Dr. Steven Rogelberg’s research suggests that if you start with a question, you’re more likely to accomplish your objective, end the meeting earlier.  

Bonus Tip: If you can’t come up with a question you need answered, you likely don’t need a meeting in the first place! 

  1. Go Async! Write down or record what you’re looking to accomplish and start with a simple Teams Chat or Slack to confirm relevance and the right stakeholders. You might even solve the problem right then and there. 
  1. “Drive By”: For both in-person or remote clarification, try the traditional “drive by” and drop by a peer’s desk. In a remote setting, a quick huddle or screen share may resolve the need for a meeting in minutes. 
  1. Live Co-Working: Platforms like Microsoft 365, Airtable, Notion and others allow teams to work together on documents in real-time, eliminating the need for lengthy discussions about edits or revisions.  

Bonus Tip: A smart use of Gen AI can act as a powerful thought partner! Summarize, identify & challenge assumptions made in the document and make suggestions on how to best distribute the information. 

  1. Decision Docs: For situations requiring a clear decision, consider creating a document outlining the options, pros and cons, and a designated space for team members to vote or provide feedback. This eliminates the back-and-forth discussions that can dominate meetings.
     

The Takeaway: Rethink How You Work 

Forget "in the loop." The key is picking the right tool for the job. Need a quick update? Slack it. Brainstorming session? Maybe a quick video chat with 1-2 peers. But for deep work - the kind that fuels real results - silence wins every time. 

Next time that meeting invite pops up, pause. Ask yourself: "Is this the best use of everyone's time?" Could an email, document, or focused work session achieve the same goal with better results? 

Imagine the possibilities. Uninterrupted focus. Enhanced creativity. Meetings that actually move the needle. It's time to break free from the meeting marathon and reclaim your workday. 

Your team will thank you! 

Embrace productive collaboration and Join Kairos now and redefine the way you communicate and collaborate with your team!