Probability is, if today’s a work day, you’re in a meeting right now. Or, you’re getting ready to go to one.

The truth of the matter is:

  • Most employees spend more than 50% of their work day in meetings.
  • Many employees have more work to do than can fit in the 50% of the day not spent in meetings.
  • A lot of meetings do not have enough substance. As a result, many attendees turn to email and surfing the web to pass the time.

Recently, my team participated in a training put on by Get Control* that focused on ensuring our meetings are efficient and effective.

Here’s the top 5 take-aways about a meeting I wish everyone knew:

  1. Not every topic, issue, or conversation requires that we set up or attend a meeting. If a discussion or a decision is not needed, the ‘meeting’ may be better accomplished in a memo.
  2. Don’t schedule meetings in 30 minute increments just because it’s the default setting in Outlook. Pay attention, this is big: Go to the drop down that has :00 or :30. Change it to whatever number you want.
  3. Meetings don’t have to include everyone – just the right people. Every person in attendance should be there to provide input only they can provide. Or, to make a decision. Or, to discuss topics that directly impacts them. Those who just need to be informed can be saved from the meeting. Just send them a follow up memo or email.
  4. Attendees should not stay for the whole meeting unless they have valuable input for the whole meeting. Thus, he/she should leave when the relevant portion is done.
  5. It’s not enough to have an agenda, meetings should have specified objectives. If you can’t put together an agenda for the meeting, respect other people’s time enough to cancel it. If you can’t put together an agenda, it is a sign the that a meeting is not needed.

What tips do you have to stay out of meetings and make sure meetings you do attend are effective? Share your tips in the comments below.

*Note: I do not receive any monetary incentive from the company to mention their name. I just believe in their product.

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