5 Ways to Avoid Time-wasting Meetings (without ruining relationships)

| 19 July 2019

One of the biggest time wasters in organisations is meetings. So much of them are simply collective procrastination with people pretending that stuff is actually getting done.

When it isn’t.

Who are we kidding here?

I often lay down a challenge for my coaching clients to slash their meeting times by half over the next three months (and to STOP the back to back meeting hell that means you’re always late, never ‘present’ and often on the back foot).

Here’s how you can do this too:

Firstly, ask: ‘How important is this meeting to achieving my personal and organisational goals?’ If it isn’t then find a way to say ‘no’ to the meeting without offending. The ‘without offending’ bit is key. Here’s how to nail this:

  • Offer to attend part of the meeting. ‘I’m on a deadline with project x but I can join you for half an hour between 10 and 10.30.’
  • Schedule a phone call instead – ‘I can’t make the meeting but I’d love to catch up with you afterwards/before to answer any questions you may have/follow up.’
  • Ask for an agenda and then offer to attend the parts of the meeting where you can offer or give most value.
  • Ask for the meeting to be pushed back to a later date ‘to enable us to have more data on xyz.’

Remember, that every time you say ‘yes’ to a meeting you are in effect saying ‘no’ to something else – possibly something more important?