Collaboration

To Message or Meet? A Simple Guide

4 min read
Sep 1, 2021

Too many meetings? Find out what situations require a meeting versus what could be an email (or message).

Kyle RichContent Producer

Making the most of your workday and managing your calendar might be the most important factor for productivity, especially after the surge in remote work. But if your day is filled with back-to-back meetings, you can end up spending more time discussing work instead of actually doing it.  

According to our Small Business Comeback Survey (read more about our survey at the bottom of this page), video conferencing software has been one of the most commonly adopted tools during the pandemic. A full 62% of respondents say they started using this software in response to COVID-19 and plan to keep using it going forward.

Even though setting a meeting might feel like a productive step forward in any project, it’s important to consider if a meeting is right in the first place. Whether you're working virtually or in-person, let's take a look at a few common questions you can ask yourself to decide whether you should schedule a meeting or simply send an email.

#1: "Does this need to be a recurring meeting or is a written status update sufficient?"

Check-ins are key to keeping up with team projects, obstacles, and shared goals. While such meetings are well-intentioned and generally useful, it’s important to consider their frequency—or whether they even need to take place at all. 

While a status update can take the form of a standing meeting, simple collaboration software can help decide whether or not a meeting is needed. Try setting an automatic reminder for the day prior or first thing in the morning the day the meeting takes place to ask: “Is there any new progress or info to share? Any questions or concerns we should talk about?” 

If there isn’t enough to share, feel free to push till next session and send a written recap. After doing an assessment, you may find that your weekly meeting is more helpful on a bi-weekly or even monthly cadence. 

These are important considerations to make and ones that can even be made on a per-meeting basis.

How to determine whether you need to hold a recurring meeting

#2: "Do all attendees have questions or updates to contribute?"

If you think about the true cost of a meeting, you're sacrificing productivity and time (which translates into money), so it's crucial to ensure that everyone on the invite truly needs to be there. 

Let’s say you need to update a stakeholder with the status of a project. Instead of flagging down the team or getting everyone on a call, project management tools can show you, at a glance, where something is in the project’s lifecycle.

How to determine if everyone needs to be on the call

Limiting the amount of attendees can also lead to more productive and engaging meetings. In large settings, employees can often disengage or zone out—especially if they don’t have anything to contribute. When you conduct smaller meetings, attendees feel more accountable and more apt to engage.

#3: "What’s my agenda, and do I need a discussion to make progress?"

If you’re stuck, you may be tempted to hold a meeting to help get things rolling—even if it may not be the best use of everyone’s time. 

When it comes to advancing a project, discussing strategy, or addressing any concerns, entering a meeting with a tailored agenda keeps things structured and on track. 

Tasks such as gathering feedback, deadline updates, etc. can be handled offline before, after, or without a meeting altogether.

How to determine if your agenda requires a meeting

Meetings will always be a necessity in the business world, but not all meetings are created equal. The next time you start drafting a meeting invite, stop and think: will you and others be more productive for it?

Methodology

GetApp conducted this survey in January 2021 of 527 to learn more about the decisions small businesses made in reaction to COVID-19. Respondents were screened for industry, job level, and business size.

About the author

Kyle Rich

Content Producer

Hey there, I’m Kyle. I’m a Content Producer at GetApp. I bring insights for businesses on everything from properly evaluating software to buying it. I received my BA in marketing communications from Columbia College Chicago, where I also minored in journalism. Home base: Austin. 2 things about me: I enjoy creative writing and cooking. The tech trend I think you should keep an eye on: Artificial intelligence and how it can help your business!

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