We all have, at some point, experienced a meeting that wasn’t quite productive as it should have been or even been at a meeting that felt like a total waste of time. No one wants to waste their working hours, so let's explore four different ways you can avoid pointless meetings and learn how to work smarter!
Whilst this might sound silly at first, the reality is that we are prone to wasting time by having meetings when the task or issue could have been solved with a quick phone call or email. Time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders outlines four questions you can use in order to decide if you need a meeting:
Different meetings have different purposes. Some meetings are one-off, others are recurring. Recurring meetings should be often enough to help you reach the purpose or goal you have, but should not be so irregular that you or your team gets sidetracked. The Lucid Meetings Blog has created an excellent matrix which offers a guide on how often to meet. Use it to find the right meeting rhythm and avoid having too many meetings!
Sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly who to invite to a meeting, especially one where an important decision to make. Inviting too many people, or people who cannot help you reach your goal can cause ineffective meetings. There is, however, two simple questions you can ask yourself which should result in you only inviting those who need to be there:
1. Do I need input from this person in order to reach my goal? 2. Will this person add valuable insights and contributions to the meeting?
If the answer is yes to at least one of these questions, then invite them!
When a meeting invite lands in your inbox, take a critical approach, rather than automatically deciding you can attend. If you do not think you have anything valuable you can add to the meeting, you should decline the meeting. If it is unclear if you need to be in the meeting or not, reach out the meeting organizer and ask for more information about the meeting. If you decide to decline the meeting, be polite and humble and explain your reason for declining the meeting.