Meetings Suck! How to stop wasting time in meetings

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MEETINGS SUCK! How to stop wasting time in meetings

Do you hate meetings or find them a waste of time?

Today's two questions and the next few minutes will help you shortcut any meeting and could cut your meeting times in half.

Scouring the internet for today's article I found there’s a huge array of studies and statistics on the general negative impact meetings have on you and the businesses you work for.

Here are just 4 of the more interesting stats I found:

  • 37% of employee time is spent in meetings
  • 47% of employees consider too many meetings a waste of time
  • 39% of employees admitted to dozing off during a meeting
  • bar-chart
    It is estimated that 25–50% of meeting time is wasted

It is estimated that 25–50% of meeting time is wasted!

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All in all, it’s no wonder people hate meetings.

AND it turns out that research has found that the more meetings you go to, the more exhausted you’ll feel. And of course this affects your productivity.

So, if you’re feeling tired just hearing this you might want to check out my sleep article afterwards for some tips on how to get more rest.

But first we know the research is saying meetings are largely a waste of time and none of us are liking it.

So what can you do about it?

Today, I want to share with you two questions I ask before every meeting, that have cut my meeting times in half.

Here are the two questions:

QUESTION 1
What is the desired outcome or outcomes for this meeting?

QUESTION 2
What would you like from me? OR
How you would like me to contribute to this meeting?

Why these questions and how do they save you time?

First, most meeting agenda’s are set by subject rather than outcome so when content is discussed it is sometimes just that content without any value add to the conversation — this just wastes time. Question 1 focuses the organizer and participants on keeping discussions to only relevant content that will help achieve the outcome. This is the first time saver.

Then question 2 clearly identifies expectations around your contribution and if you really need to be there or not. You may find you were invited out of courtesy or habit — now this has happened to me before and asking question 2 has allowed me to politely step away and take that time back completely.

Of course, if you been invited as decision maker you won’t be able to step away but by asking question 2 you can often skip pitch content and go straight to addressing what people really want from you.

I have to say this is where question 2 becomes very powerful!

Mountains of content


I can remember walking into a meeting and seeing mountains of content that would easily take an hour to go through and literally shrinking the meeting down to 5 minutes by getting straight to the decision they wanted me to make — by identifying the outcome I was able to set aside the mountain of content they thought I might need, and ask a few key questions that gave me the ability to give them a decision.

I honestly believe these two questions could literally reclaim weeks of your time each year.

So whether you’re a participant or meeting organizer use these two questions to cut to the chase and cut down meeting times so everyone can contribute, get results and get on with their day!

No Time?!

Listen to the podcast version on the run - available on:

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About the Author Andrew Walsh

Andrew is a strategist, career performance expert and mindset master. A qualified Chartered Accountant and former CFO, he has a variety of experience in top 100 corporates, professional services and building businesses. His passion is ‘results driven education’ and maximising experiential learning to rapidly develop individuals for real results.

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