To Meet or Not to Meet: Deciding when a ‘chat’ is unnecessary

In an agency environment, we’re always mindful that unplanned meetings (even short ones) can add up in terms of timelines and budget. That’s why we’re always keen to trim occurrences of “let’s have a chat” to only those cases when a meeting will support more effective marketing and communications:

  1. The meeting’s goals are clear. They cannot be achieved any other way except through a discussion (rather than email, short phone call, shared document, etc.)
  2. All key participants and stakeholders are available to attend. This ensures decisions are comprehensive, everyone is in agreement, and no future follow-up meeting is needed.
  3. The matter is urgent and important. Less-critical items can often wait to be discussed during set quarterly or general update meetings that have already been planned.
  4. The project is due “yesterday”. Yes, time required to hold a meeting might seem ridiculous when a critical deadline is staring you down but getting it right from the start is all the more important.
  5. There is need to confirm next steps or critical project parameters. Perhaps an item was previously discussed but firm next steps are up in the air, or the final decision/direction was unclear.
  6. The client is new, or a project is rife with risk or need for careful consideration. Some clients have been with us for years, so there’s no need to schedule a meeting to chat on terms or minor edits.
  7. Past meetings have been productive. If meetings tend to devolve into confusing free-for-alls, it’s best to find other ways to make decisions (or change up the meeting format to improve results).
  8. Transparency and accountability are critical. If managers or other key participants need to be kept updated/informed, a “paper trail” for decisions is needed that is often hard to capture via a meeting.

Overall, we try to be flexible, accommodating client needs whenever possible while also keeping a careful eye on project budget. But by considering the above factors and being laser-focused on efficient collaboration, we’ve made an art form of making effective use of everyone’s time.

Contact M
Contact M