The Whereby Meetings Manifesto: A Simple Framework for Better Meetings Every Time
At Whereby, we believe in better, more productive (and fewer) meetings. In fact, it’s all codified in our Meetings Manifesto. Keep reading for more.
At Whereby, we believe in better, more productive (and ultimately fewer) meetings. But what exactly does that mean? Well, we invite fewer people, have shorter conversations, listen more and talk less.
We take walking meetings when we can (with the dog in tow, too). We turn off our video from time to time. We don’t interrupt. We don’t talk over each other. We trust each other.
And we even smile.
These principles are so important to us we’ve codified them in our own Meetings Manifesto. So, be intentional about your next meeting. Print our and take our Meetings Manifesto with you so can you be more intentional about how you approach meetings each day.
A manifesto for better meetings
Invite fewer people.
At Whereby, we believe less is more. That’s especially true when it comes to meeting attendees. That’s why we only invite stakeholders to a meeting. We want every invitee to be an active participant. If someone feels like they could click through email or peruse the news while they’re in your meeting, they shouldn’t be there. Keep your invite list small and use asynchronous communication tools like Slack and Loom to update a larger segment of your team later.
Have shorter conversations.
Keeping our meeting guest list small also helps us shorten the length of each meeting. Use every team member’s time productively. That means no three-hour long meetings. Time is money. Try to schedule quick syncs or stand ups so everyone can give a progress update and move on. Save the longer conversations for in person or asynchronous channels.
Listen more. Say less.
You know another way to keep conversations shorter? Say less. And listen more. If you’ve invited your colleagues to a meeting it’s hopefully because you care about what they have to say. If you’re planning to give a diatribe, save it for a Loom instead. No one wants to be talked at during a meeting.
Relax. Make it a walking meeting (take the dog, too).
We’re all guilty of taking call after call from our desk (or couch or bed). But remember those coffee meetings or walking dates we used to have with coworkers? Why not turn some of your video meetings into mobile calls instead and go for a walk while you talk?
Turn off video from time to time.
Video conferencing fatigue is real. It’s that weird phenomenon that makes us feel like we’ve spent all day on video calls even if it’s only been a couple of hours. And staring at a video of yourself can only make matters worse. Plus it promotes an eerie level of eye contact. So, to give yourself and others a break, encourage your team to turn off their video from time to time. Instead, rely on in-app chat and emoji reactions to convey body language and approval.
We get it. Turning off your video can be scary. What if people think you walked away? What if people think you’re just not listening? Well, that’s where trust comes in. And if you’re used to working remotely, you know trust is key to making it work. So please, give your colleagues a basic level of trust and understanding. Know that they won’t always be on screen, but they’re still listening. Know they might take your call on a walk, but they’re still tuned in. We all need to give each other a little grace – now more than ever.
And lastly, smile. Video meetings - and meetings in general - can be draining. But bring some humanity back into. Start each meeting with an icebreaker, a warm smile and then move into the meat of your discussion. Or try an emoji reaction to convey what you’re feeling. We promise, a little smile here and there will go a long way for your own mood and that of your coworkers.