Meetings Are Like Anonymous Tips.
There are lots of small businesses working independently to make their mark on web development and design. We’re one of them.
We cram as much into a day’s work as we can- and we get really good at working fast to fit it all in. We’ve managed to find a workflow we’re comfortable with, and can do great work within- but we sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. There is one thing that makes time seem to double in speed- and not in a good way.
Some say meetings are toxic, and you should avoid them at all costs. As a small studio, we know how a one-hour meeting can quickly take up an afternoon… When we see the day slipping away, it’s hard not to think of the work we could have accomplished during that time- of the money we could have been bringing in, the progress we could have made toward our next deadline. We know we have to shove those feelings aside, though- if we didn’t, we’d be missing out on a different kind of productivity happening right in front of us. Building relationships.
Meetings linger on whether they’re internal or external. Chit chats which are meant to last a few minutes can turn into a full-blown hour-long discussion. If you don’t manage them, they can get out of hand- but that’s not a bad thing. We think it’s really important to recognize what’s going on in these conversations, because one way or another, they’re going to help develop who you are as a company.
You work with these people every day. Maybe you have an outside relationship with them, maybe you don’t- but the bottom line is that it takes the collaboration of your team to crank out the finished product. How you communicate with your team is imperative to that work getting done in the first place. Having a conversation with them might open your eyes to the way they feel about a certain design or writing style, or you might learn something important about their personal lives. Put it all together, and you have a stronger relationship. You don’t have to agree with the other person, but it helps to know where they stand. You never know when a tidbit of information you learn from one of these “meetings” will help bring your co-worker out of a creative rut. That’s worth an hour or two of your time right there.
It’s simple: clients bring in money. That’s not all they’re good for, but it’s why we’re able to spend each day doing what we love. In order to keep bringing in the money, we need to make our clients happy. One (fantastic) way to do this is by listening to them. Sometimes they just want to rant. Sometimes they have legitimate concerns about their brand that you can help with. Sometimes they don’t know what they want- but they expect you to. You can learn from every single one of these conversations. The client might not say exactly what they mean, but if you can get to know them well enough to pick up on their unspoken words, you’ll be doing everyone a favor. Some call it intuition; we call it attention.
So you see, meetings aren’t toxic at all. You learn something from each and every conversation you have with someone. Stop looking at the hours you spend in a meeting as time wasted, and starting looking at them as your next opportunity to do great work.