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Stop Wasting Time in Meetings




Have you ever been in a meeting and minutes into it you question why you are even there? Robert Half Management Resources determined that 37 percent of work life is spent in meetings whether in person or virtual. What a waste. As the world of work stretches itself back to some kind of normalcy, start with a new structure to the meeting process. Productivity is critical to business success. Unproductive time spent away from the important wastes time, reduces motivation and creates stress. Whether you are the leader, team manager, or worker – take back the control of your time! General Meeting Basics:

  • Don’t meet. If you can send a note, email, or memo, don’t have the meeting.

  • If you do plan a meeting, set objectives and expected outcomes. This keeps the focus and better manages time spent in meetings.

  • Distribute the agenda beforehand. This will help attendees prepare for the meeting and gather appropriate materials. Stick to the agenda during the meeting. If an important topic comes up, and when possible, put it on the agenda for the next meeting.

  • Rotate facilitator of the meeting. This will help each person pay more attention during the gathering. It also allows them to be part of the topic progress.

  • Constantly improve the meeting process. Make sure the attendees really need to be there. Ask the question, “Is it relevant to their job and projects.” If you are an attendee, and feel like you have no business participating in a meeting, ask why you have been invited. My preference is to not aimlessly attend meetings that have nothing to do with my duties and responsibilities.


Meeting Ground Rules

Ask the group how THEY want to run the meeting. And have them come up with the ground rules - then you have buy in. Post their ‘agreed upon’ rules in a visible place when possible, write them down and reuse for future meetings - adding and deleting 'rules' as the meeting dictates. Possible ground rules:

  1. Have an agenda

  2. Stick to the agenda

  3. Begin and end on time

  4. One conversation at a time

  5. Say it once. Don’t repeat ideas already discussed

  6. Keep comments to 3 sentences or less

  7. Don’t interrupt

  8. Make statements positive

  9. Speak up - no one is a mind reader

  10. Create a parking lot - if it is not on the agenda, put it in the parking lot for the next meeting

  11. Confidentiality: What is said here, stays here

  12. Be interested and involved through your body language and expression, whether in person or if you have your video turned on during a virtual meeting.


Agree that everyone will be the ‘sergeant at arms’ and if someone is not abiding by the rules, anyone can knock three times on the table and pose the question: “Do we all still agree on the Ground Rules? We have more than one conversation and that is breaking rule #4.”


Calculate the cost of meetings.

  • Take your estimated attendee salaries, calculate their hourly rate, and multiply that hourly rate by 1.4 to account for additional costs of employee time such as a benefits and tax costs.

  • Then, add all of your attendee hourly costs, sum them together, and determine the cost of your one-time meeting and the added cost over the year.

Is the meeting the ‘value’ you expected? Time is precious especially when you are being asked to do more with less. Let’s all stop wasting time in meetings! Cheers! Marsha Cell: 602 418-1991 Connect on FaceBook, LinkedIn Professional Speaker, Executive Coach, Best Selling Author Let me know when we can tailor a presentation for your group.

Certified Virtual Presenter Connect on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Parler, or MeWe Professional Speaker, Executive Coach, Best Selling Author

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