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How to Make Meetings Less Wasteful with Asynchronous Communication

Charles Kergaravat
December 14, 2021

Lucid Meetings recently shared an article on how to eliminate wasteful meetings. And while we’re completely on board, one important point we think we can add is how the switch to async can eliminate those meetings too.

Asynchronous communication (or async) is key to making sure important conversations are had while also allowing for deep work to get done. In our opinion, you can’t run a productive team without it.

We wanted to write a response to Lucid Meetings’ article to show how each of the meeting time wasters they pointed out can easily be resolved with async.

Thoughtfulness and purpose replace traditional meeting skills when communicating asynchronously

We’ve all sat through a poorly run meeting before, and it’s a special kind of infuriating. As team leaders, we want to make sure we’re not putting our own teams through that.

Lucid Meetings referred to awful meeting facilitating as having a lack of “meeting skills.”

Meeting skills can mean a variety of different things, like:

  • Using a timer
  • Efficiently gathering your team in a room
  • Encouraging participation
  • Knowing who should be in a meeting
  • Making the most of everyone’s time
  • Keeping the conversation on track

While good managers have likely mastered these skills, you can eliminate the issue altogether when you stop having meetings (or at least pointless, unproductive meetings).

When a meeting has no purpose, it’s easy for tangents to occur and encourages people to zone out while a colleague monologues. Participants may also talk over each other, while others may attend and leave without ever sharing their insights.

People don't step on each other's toes when communicating asynchronously. It levels the playing field because everyone has a voice. 

Async communication also gives your employees more time to consider all aspects of a topic before providing their thoughts, instead of giving an off-the-cuff answer they might change their mind about later.

Give your meetings more purpose by switching to async and eliminate thoughtless meeting time wasting and miscommunication.

Wrong cadence: Forcing regular meetings won’t solve your problems

If your team has a weekly check-in meeting, think about how often the updates change. Or better yet, if those updates could simply be done another way.

According to Lucid Meetings, some teams have low predictability and high interdependence, so they need to be in direct communication more often. 

We’d venture to say that the opposite is more often the case.

Think carefully about when you need to put a meeting on the calendar, and get rid of those recurring meetings that could easily have been an email.

Let’s compare a few times you might actually need a meeting versus the times when you definitely don’t.

When to have meetings When to default to async
The start of a project to make sure you’re heading off on the right foot Regular standing meetings, like weekly check-ins
Finishing projects and debriefing team members When providing project updates and next steps
When making critical team or company decisions When brainstorming and having discussions that require thinking time
As a part of crisis management strategies to ensure issues are dealt with When sharing an idea with your team and gathering feedback

It boils down to this: Forcing recurring meetings that have no purpose isn’t productive, and it’s a waste of everyone’s time. It’s also a slippery slope into meeting overload.

Making the shift to asynchronous communication or meetings can be the perfect solution to this time waster.

Ad-hoc meetings become redundant in an asynchronous culture

How many times have you heard: “Let’s jump on a call” (or even said it)? If we had to guess, it’s probably way more times than necessary.

We’ll be the first to admit that sometimes calls are useful to flesh out something important so that a project can keep going.

But more often than not, all this does is take you out of the rhythm of the day, interrupt your work, and force you to figure out how to refocus when you finally get back to it.

This is especially frustrating when you’ve already scheduled your entire day around the tasks you need to complete, and someone comes into your office or pings you to have an ad-hoc chat. 

Now imagine this happening multiple times a day.

Interruptions like this involve way too much context switching, a time waster and productivity-killer of its own accord.

Asynchronous communication allows you to move away from these disruptions. 

Have an idea? Record a voice message to share with your team and flesh it out. Want to brainstorm? Send a screen share in your team’s Discussion group in Yac and ask for feedback. 

Async audio is a great way to relay questions, clear misunderstandings, and collect information—without interrupting deep work.

How audio and text can work together to solve these problems

One thing many people love about meetings is the ability to articulate through voice. Meeting participants know when you’re making a joke or being sarcastic because they can hear the different nuances and inflections in your voice.

Defaulting to text-only communication can easily lead to miscommunication, and it can be hard to understand when working with more complex topics.

This is why audio and text need to go hand-in-hand to create a successful asynchronous meeting strategy.

You can easily use text (such as a single source of truth Notion page or quick comments in a Google Doc) but record a voice message when sharing a longer train of thought. A tool like Yac is perfect for marrying the two together for the ultimate asynchronous conversation.

Source: yac.com

Key takeaways

Stop having pointless meetings that waste time and interrupt important work that affects your company’s bottom line. Instead, switch to an asynchronous communication culture that empowers your team to communicate when it works best for their schedule.

Yac is a great tool to help your team get started with async. Book a free demo to learn more about how we can make an impact.