The secret to a productive meeting is to schedule one only when necessary. But truth be told, even if you actively try to limit the number of meetings you attend, you’re still likely to end up with quite a few every week.
On average, individual contributors have 8 meetings in a week. If you’re a manager, the average number of meetings bumps up to 12 per week.
We bet that your most uninterrupted week will still have 8 to 10 meetings scheduled. Well, I cross-checked the data by looking at our team’s calendar, it checks out.
But there’s a silver lining here. By simply reducing the time you spend on every meeting, even by just a fraction, the time you save adds up considerably.
While it's harder to swap meetings with asynchronous communication, reducing the meeting time is doable. We’d argue it’s far easier than you think, especially when you use the simple Google Calendar hack: Speedy meetings.
Without any further ado, let’s learn more about “speedy meetings” and how they help you to cut back your meeting time by 17% every day.
Speedy meetings is a feature from Google Calendar that automatically shortens your events that are 30 minutes or longer.
If your meeting is 30 minutes long, then speedy meetings will help you end the meeting 5 minutes early. If your meeting is 60 minutes or longer, then you can end the meeting 10 minutes early.
Simple. When you try to create an event, the proposed duration will be shorter than what you typically go with (i.e., default duration). If you create 30-min meetings regularly, then you’ll notice the duration will be set to 25 minutes with speedy meetings enabled.
Here’s the time difference between default and speedy meetings:
In other words, you’ll be able to cut back the time you spend on meetings by 17%. To put it into perspective, you can save up to several hours every week—without doing anything. If you're someone who joins ad-hoc meetings often, enable speedy meetings right away.
Surprisingly, not many have enabled this feature since Google launched it 8 years ago. Have you?
Here’s how to turn on speedy meetings in your Google Calendar.
Step 1: Go to Calendar.google.com > Open settings menu.
Step 2: Under General, you’ll be able to access “Event settings.” Just click on it to go to the event-related options.
Step 3: Enable speedy meetings. That’s it, you’re done!
Yes, it does.
Let us explain.
When you enable speedy meetings, you’re simply changing the default duration to a shorter time. To put it another way, the available time to discuss becomes shorter, which in turn, helps you to get to the agenda directly.
As Parkinson’s law states, work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
If you have 45 minutes to discuss your agenda and gather feedback/ideas from your colleagues, you’ll take 45 minutes to get it done. At the same time, if you have 40 minutes in hand, you’ll still get the job done.
When we shorten the meeting duration, we’re indirectly improving the way we collaborate. The discussion becomes more intentional and constructive.
That being said, you need to discuss the planned agenda items and drive the meeting towards the intended outcome before the time runs out.
After all, one can choose to ignore the meeting duration and continue to have the discussion. If that’s the case, then you’re dealing with a different problem altogether. Learn how to run a productive meeting that allows you to accomplish the goal and wrap up the meeting on time.
As we often say, our default behaviors aren’t best for collaboration. We’ve seen companies seeing exceptional results from their meetings when they change the default behaviors and opt-in for better ones.
Enable speedy meetings in your Google calendar and get your team to do the same. Every minute your team saves from meetings will be spent on the actual work—which further boosts the overall productivity.
In addition, one of the reasons why Google launched speedy meetings is to give people some time to prepare between back-to-back meetings. So, if you’re someone with a lot of meetings scheduled, then speedy meetings are what you need to take a quick break, recoup, and prepare for the next conversation.
Before you go, there’s one more bonus tip that’ll help you reduce the number of meetings.
While speedy meetings can help you cut back on your meeting time, you can reduce the number of meetings with Grain.
If you think about it, you don’t need to be in every meeting you’ve been invited to. More often than not, you just need the updates and decisions from the conversation. Use Grain to automatically get the summary, key takeaways, and next steps delivered to you.
Create your Grain account and set your recording preferences (let Grain know the meetings you'd like to record and summarize). When the meeting starts, your Grain recording bot will attend the call like any other participant. Once it ends, you'll get the summary delivered to your Slack (or to your inbox).
Everyone in your team will also get the AI-generated summary delivered to them, making it easier to focus on the conversation without having to worry about taking notes. Try Grain for free!