Manufacture Your Day by SAYING “NO” TO CRAPPY MEETINGS
Why? They see meetings as an unwanted distraction. Meetings cause so much frustration because many of them are too long and unproductive.
Going to meetings must be one of the biggest time, money and productivity wasters in our organizations, and here is why:
- too long
- problem focused, combined with negative energy
- start late, finish late
- no accountability
- often unnecessary
- unfit meeting facilitators
- lack of mindfulness – people who shouldn’t have to be in the meeting are invited
- getting off topic
- no agenda and/or unstructured
- lack of having the ideal outcome in mind
- no meeting minutes to hold people accountable
- lack of meeting guidelines (if you make no rules, people make their own)
Did I get some of these points right?
I often wonder when people have actually time to do their work.
Here is what I suggest: Learn to say a firm “no”.
My strategy is easy and to the point. Ask the meeting organizer 3 simple questions:
1. Why am I invited?
You have to understand the reason why you are there and what the expectations are. If there is no clear answer, this already is your way out.
2. What’s my role in the meeting?
Are you not actively involved in the meeting? You may be able to read the meeting minutes afterwards or send someone else from your department. Sometimes people think it would be good for you to attend. However, this is for you to decide.
3. What’s the agenda?
Do you find that the majority of time in the meeting doesn’t require your involvement? Can you ask that your part is moved to the beginning of the meeting? This way you don’t have waste time by sitting in a meeting where you don’t belong. Time is money.
If you decide to attend a meeting, be 100% present:
- Bring an old fashioned note pad and leave your phone at your desk – this can be very liberating and it helps you to focus on people and the task at hand;
- Go to the meeting a few minutes early – you respect other people’s time and it gives you the chance to connect with people from other departments (never underestimate connection time);
- Observe what you like about the meeting and in what areas you see opportunities for improvements;
- Provide constructive feedback to the meeting facilitator with the intention to help him to make his/her meetings better;
Meetings are important for people to connect, reflect, communicate and take action. If you don’t get the chance to do any of it, you should be polite and let the organizer know. Then is time to cut that meeting from your “to-do” list.
Here you go: