How We Ran a No-Meeting Experiment and Got More Done

Budget cuts, layoffs and everything in between. It’s tough to be a B2B marketer right now.  

Mark and Jason are feeling it too. So they figured the best place to start is with something they could control: their time.

They’re in the middle of running a ‘no meeting’ experiment. They needed to find a way to work more effectively and get more done as a Marketing team.

Tune in to this DGU episode to find out: 

  • How this no-meeting experiment started and how it’s going
  • The tools they’re using to work more effectively without all these meetings
  • Their plan for team meetings going forward 

Three top takeaways: 

Takeaway 1: Everyone needs to play by the same rules for an experiment like this 

We sent the team a Slack announcement and encouraged everyone to ask every question they had before we started the experiment.

We needed to eliminate all confusion so the experiment rules were clear and understood. And we went to the extreme.

Cancel one-on-ones. Cancel status meetings. Cancel update meetings. Decline meetings where you’re mostly listening. Leave meetings early if you feel like it’s a waste. And cancel all external meetings. 

You won’t be able to truly learn from an experiment like this if some people play by the rules and some don’t if the rules make them uncomfortable. 

This was a challenge for us at first. Some team members prefer meetings and didn’t know if they’d be able to get their work done without them. 

By the end of the experiment, they came around. Big time.

Takeaway 2: Cancelling meetings forces your team to change how they work

We’re big believers of using Loom for video updates. You can send videos to explain what you’re working on, what you just finished, and most importantly, where you feel stuck. 

Sending videos feels uncomfortable at first. Maybe you don’t like the sound of your voice or seeing your face on screen. But the more you send, the easier it gets. We promise.

Spend the upfront time and commit to using a project management tool too.

We use Asana as a marketing team. We started small and used three fields: 1) Status 2) Priority and 3) whether the task/project needed to be completed in the next sprint, then assigned an owner and a deadline.

The biggest change was trying to remember to drop in comments, questions, and feedback into Asana cards (vs. doing this in Slack where it always gets messy). It’s annoying at first but it makes working asynchronously so much easier.

Takeaway 3: Be OK with dropping stuff so your team can actually learn

This was the hardest part of running the experiment, by far.

Everyone moves fast and no one wants to drop something big. Especially when you’re the owner. No one wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing.

Make sure your team knows they will drop stuff. Make sure they know it’s OK. And make sure they know they won’t get in trouble when it happens.

For us – we tried to turn every miss into a learning opportunity so we could work more effectively as a team.

How did this go wrong? Were the right people involved? Did we have an actual project plan? Where did the communication break down?

The key here is creating a work environment where your team knows they can fail… as long as they learn from it. Small caveat. Huge impact.

Don’t just take our word for it

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