Meetings Are Where You Waste Hours and Take Minutes

Meetings Are Where You Waste Hours And Take Minutes
By: Angela Fieler

Is there a leader out there who doesn’t feel pressed for time? Based on my coaching experience, I would say no. In her blog I Don’t Have Time, Kris Baird not only concurred, but discussed what leaders aren’t doing as a result. Most of the leaders I coach share the belief that meetings are at the top of the list of things they spend the most time on. Meetings are also perceived to be inescapable – there is no alternative to holding or attending a meeting and there is no valid reason for being excused.

Escaping Meetings Madness

I usually offer two solutions. The first is to decline any meeting that doesn’t have a clear agenda. If the person calling for the meeting isn’t willing to spend time in creating an agenda, then don’t invest your precious time in attending. That sounds cold, I know and most people I suggest it to say that’s not going to work for them. Then I propose my second solution. This is to respond to the meeting request with a maybe and add a request for clarification on what the purpose of the meeting is and why your presence is essential. People seem to be a little more willing to try this approach, but I still face a lot of resistance. I often wonder if the reason people resist my idea is because they would then have to follow suit when scheduling their own meetings.

The Solution

I just read an article in Forbes that validates my anecdotal research. It also provides an alternative solution to the problem of wasting time in “pointless, aimless, unfocused and generally inefficient meetings. In his article, ‘Meeting Canceled’—2 Words Your Employees Love To See (, Mark Murphy offers a simple test that everyone who runs a meeting should apply before scheduling the meeting. He calls the test a Statement of Achievement. It’s a fill in the blank sentence that forces the meeting organizer to establish a clearly articulated goal. If the leader can’t do it, then the meeting shouldn’t be scheduled. He provides great examples of how to use the test in real life. It also tells you where a leader might be tempted to cheat, so to speak. I love the test so much I will be working into my coaching practice.

If you recognize yourself as a leader who conducts a lot of meetings, consider using the Statement of Achievement. It will help you determine if the meeting is even necessary. If you are starting to free up your time by going to fewer meetings, now is the time to learn how to put that time to great use. Enroll in Be the Leader Nobody Wants to Leave and invest in yourself as a leader and your team as a valuable resource.

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