Best Time to Hold a Meeting

Do you ever ask the question "When is the best time to hold a meeting?"  Some time ago, I answered this question in an article on best meeting length and time of day in relation to corporate culture, participant availability, and type of meeting.  This advice still holds true, however there may be more to think about  now, due to technology and research.

Recently there have been productivity studies showing the part of the workday when people are best at decision-making or being creative.  This information is typically used to help plan a daily schedule and to do's for effective time management.  However, this same data may be key to planning meetings, as well.  The studies show that people are most alert during the morning and it is a good time to make decisions, work on major projects or logistical items. Consider the type of meeting you are having, if it is for decision-making, consider planning the meeting in the morning.  Studies also shows people are more creative in the afternoon. This indicates that free-flowing meetings for brainstorming, problem-solving, design, process mapping, or discussion should be planned for the afternoon.  Get the creative stuff done in the afternoon with your group, and if decisions can be postponed plan a shorter meeting the next morning.  This allows participants time to review the minutes and think about things before jumping to fast on a quick solution.

Before deciding on a time to hold your meeting, first determine if the meetings is really necessary.  Information sharing can easily be done via email instead of a meeting.  Most meetings work better face-to-face, but virtual meetings are a good alternative when the participants are not all located in the same building.

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