Let’s face it - last minute meetings are inevitable. When we need to do spur of the moment check-ins, or realize that later today is the only overlapping time that a team has free, last minute meetings can be crucial. That, however, doesn’t mean they’re always very efficient or productive. So how do you make sure that last minute meetings are just as successful as your regularly scheduled and pre-planned ones? Stick to high-focus places and activities!
1. Limit distractions
By being strategic about where your meeting is held, you're helping to limit distractions. Find a closed off space, or better yet, a huddle room for limited outside distractions. Last minute meetings tend to be inefficient when people aren’t quite in the right mindset for them. Limiting distractions helps with focus.
2. Keep the energy flowing
You may want to make use of a stand-up meeting for making last minute meetings efficient. These kinds of meetings are naturally shorter than traditional meetings, and keep staff engaged by requiring everyone to stand. If it’s first thing in the morning, or in the last minutes of the day, even try having participants do light exercises or movements to help make sure blood is flowing which can boost engagement.
3. Reduce your reliance on tech
Last minute meetings shouldn’t require in-depth presentations, or any type of charts or graphs, so limit the tech that is present in your meeting. When you can step away from the computer, or even ban phones, you can make the meeting a simple human-to-human interaction where time isn’t consumed by setting up projectors or fiddling with other technology. Not to mention - participants can’t be distracted by their personal devices
4. Keep them short and sweet
A last minute meeting should never drone on. First of all, it’s really inefficient to hold a long meeting without a schedule and an agenda. Secondly, a last minute meeting by nature should be short, since there’s no requirement for lengthy preparation. If you aren’t able to accomplish your intentions or goals for the meeting in roughly 30 minutes, then you should probably plan to have a longer scheduled meeting later in the future.
5. Limit the number of participants
When last minute meetings start to get too crowded, they tend to lose their purpose. Ideally, a last minute meeting should have less than five people, and more likely should only have two or three participants. This way, the meeting has less of a chance to dissolve to chit-chat or small talk, and can be used as more of a status update or check-in. When you need to include more people, then take the courtesy to schedule something more official.
In efficient meetings, short time demand and high-focus structure is the name of the game. Last minute meetings don’t have to be sloppy or pointless, and often can help dictate the actions of your team, especially when working on collaborative projects. But make sure all of your meetings - even your last minutes ones - are serving their best purpose and you’ll have better, more effective meetings overall.