5 Tips to Spot which Meetings to Avoid

These days, with the expansion of remote work, setting up virtual meetings has never been so easy. It literally takes only a couple of clicks to fill your agenda.

As a result, for many organizations, the number of meetings has considerably increased.

A number of new meetings, or touchpoints, has appeared with the initial ambition of compensating for the lack of physical connections.

Touchpoints such as “virtual coffee”, “early Monday get together”, or “Friday afternoon get together” are designed for the manager to get a sense of the motivation of the troops, keep in contact, maintaining team spirit, etc.

However, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and the risk of being busy as opposed to being effective is bigger than ever.

A well-managed meeting practice has many benefits. Ideally, the ROI of meetings, though, should always be assessed and compared with their costs.

Let’s have a closer look at this and examine the difference between:

  • the obvious costs: defined as the (hourly income of each attendee) x (number of hours) + (cost of the facility hosting the meeting).
  • and the hidden costs: the activity (and/or revenue) attendees could have generated instead of attending the meeting, e.g., spending valuable time with clients, with their teams, setting up and implementing strategies, working on improvement plans, and other valuable activities.

Adding both costs should be considered when implementing meeting practices, especially when it comes to recurring events.

So, if you don’t want your work week to become a continuous stream of meetings, the first thing you should focus on is “why should I accept a meeting invite?”.

Or put otherwise: “a priority for me should be to spot and skip unnecessary meetings”.

This is our focus here.

Here are five tips to spot the meetings you could skip, or at least question whether you should participate:

# 1- First things first: why is a meeting needed?

A meeting should only take place because there are no alternatives to the meeting, such as circulated memos or documents that require written input.  

#2 -No agenda

No agenda means there’s an unclear purpose and objectives. Why attend a meeting if you don’t know what to expect?

Note: the agenda could be verbal rather than written, light rather than heavily detailed, but the absence of any agenda at all should lead to a ‘No-Go’ or at the minimum, asking for more background information.

#3- The purpose of the meeting is to read a document I could have read offline

During the meeting, emphasis should be placed on generating an interactive discussion (questions, conclusions, debate) on the supporting document which gets the most out of the attendees, as opposed to discovering the document during the meeting, which transforms the meeting into a lecture.

#4- The reason why I should participate in person is unclear

Am I really needed? What is my role during the meeting? Can I delegate?

#5 – I could read the minutes instead of attending the meeting

If spending 10mn on reading minutes is the same as spending two hours in a meeting, then the choice is easy.

The above is just the first part of providing tips to help you answer the question, “should I attend a meeting?”.

The second part of the equation is to answer the following question: “how can your meetings be more effective?”.

To be continued……

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