The Cure For ‘Death By Meeting!’

Meetings have exploded over the pandemic - Zoom, Teams and the like just make it too easy to hold them don't they! But in every workshop I run around people mgt or managing time, I get the same overwhelming depressing cry from everyone around how pointless most of them are. So here's a few perspectives and perhaps a few solutions:

Those people calling for and running meetings really do not care about the time they are stealing from the people attending as a general rule. They are often using them for lazy reasons: often, its about UPDATES. Everyone dutifully goes round in a 'circle' and updates on what's going on in their world. The problem with this is that often most in the meeting don't care about this update as it rarely impacts them. The first person gives their update and could leave the meeting but has to stay on until the bitter end! So: if you are using meetings for updates from others then consider other ways of doing this, for example a Word doc half page update from people every week/month. Meetings are for making decisions where the majority in the 'room' have a vested interest, an expertise, an opinion, a contribution to make: there is a point to them being there! Getting various people together has to be the best or only way to move forwards on something. And why you are at it, if you're a meeting organiser consider whether 30 or 60 mins is needed - why not 20 or 25 mins! And tell attendees in advance what the agenda is, what decisions need to be discussed/made in the meeting and any prep required.

And if you are a meeting attendee and wonder if you really need to be there for some all of it: ask the organiser if you can join at a certain point, get someone to present your contribution on your behalf or update you on what has been discussed/agreed afterwards if you really don't see the value in attending. You really don't need to just attend because you always have - Meeting organisers will rarely check in with you to see if you are getting value out of meetings - sometimes you have to proactively tell them your preferences/what works for you. They may just agree with you!