Between the check-ins, the kick-offs, the status updates, the sales meetings and the staff meetings, your calendar is probably booked with meetings of all kinds. Unfortunately, studies show that most of these gatherings may not be a good use of your time. Research from Zippia shows that only about 11% of meetings are productive.

So, how can you communicate and collaborate but still use your time wisely? Robin Johnson, who contributes to the Range blog, has compiled some meeting alternatives to help you get your focus time back. Check out the ideas in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Email instead. If a true meeting isn’t necessary, send an email with sales updates or status reports. Johnson says that if not discussion or collaboration is needed, email is often the best choice. If you decide you and your team are going to send a weekly update, adopt a standardized format to make it easier to read and write the communication. And if the topic may lead to back-and-forth discussion, opt for a different format.

Record a video. Johnson says this option works well when you need to elaborate a bit more than a quick Slack message allows. Tools like Loom and CloudApp allow you to share an overview or provide a little more context without calling a traditional meeting.

Create a task in your project management system. Whether you use something like Trello or Asana, simply adding a task lets everyone on your team share progress updates and communicate directly within the task — no meeting necessary.

Start a Slack thread. Slack can be a great alternative to many types of meetings, Johnson says, whether you need to share updates, get feedback or collaborate across teams. You can also use Slack to stay in touch with remote team members.

Create a shared doc. Instead of calling a meeting to share knowledge or updates, start a shared doc where everyone on the team can collaborate, share ideas and provide feedback. This doc also helps ensure an individual or group knowledge lives on among the larger team, Johnson says.

Run a whiteboard session. Co-creation tools like Figma and Miro let group collaboration happen without a meeting. Johnson suggests using a whiteboard session for brainstorming sessions, design critiques or visual process mapping.

Go on a walk and talk. This can be a great way to get facetime with your colleagues while getting a break from the office or computer screen. Johnson adds that walking can also lead to creative thinking both during the walk and immediately after.

When To Schedule A Traditional Meeting

Sometimes, you may still need to book a traditional meeting. Johnson says some things to consider include whether the conversation is mostly one way or if you anticipate some back-and-forth discussion. If it’s the latter, you may want to still get the group together for a meeting. Also, think about the current level of alignment. If you’re trying to build a consensus or make a big decision together, a meeting may be the best route, Johnson says. And lastly, if you need high engagement and active participation, you may want to call that meeting instead of using an alternative.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Robin Johnson is a contributor to the Range blog.