How many hours per week do you spend in meetings? We have seen organizations where people would spend more than 20 hours per week in meetings. Other organizations are very efficient and average 3 hours of meetings per person a week.

Too many meetings mean loss of time for deep work. In other words, they increase context switching and erode focus. They lower productivity. Eventually, they destroy the sense of accomplishment for everyone involved. Do people like wasting their time? Probably not. So the underlying reason behind pointless meetings must be a lack of discipline, skill or knowledge.

The goal of this article is to introduce you to tactics that eliminate redundant meetings.

The first tactic is acting as soon as you get a meeting invitation. You may ask:
“Do we really need a meeting? Could you send a proposal of a solution instead?”
It could be that everyone is fine with the proposal, and you can move forward with no meeting at all.

Asking these questions may be difficult, especially if it is your manager sending you the meeting invitation. In that case, what can you do?

If sending a proposal is not possible, a detailed agenda should be sent. How do you ask for one, even from your manager? Each organization has a different culture, but you could start with: “Sorry I didn’t get the meeting agenda, did I miss something?”

Having a detailed agenda for every meeting should be mandatory policy. Why do we need a detailed agenda?

First, it forces the person organizing the meeting to think about potential solutions. That in itself could present the opportunity to write a proposal, which could even reveal the solution.

Second, a detailed agenda will give structure and pace to the meeting. Structure, because the agenda should be displayed on the screen by the one facilitating the meeting. Pace, because time should be allocated to each part of the meeting. How do you write an agenda?

A good place to start is by asking yourself the questions: “What is the purpose of the meeting? Why are we doing this? What are we trying to achieve with this meeting? What problem are we trying to solve?”. This will require some work. Going back to the actual problem that we are trying to solve, plainly stated, is the first step to finding the solution. Once we have the meeting’s purpose, we can list the main points that are needed to achieve the purpose.

Free Download “Meeting Agenda and Meeting Minutes template”

The “Meeting Agenda and Meeting Minutes template” is a PDF with an example of a meeting that you can use as a template for your future meetings. It will help you apply what you learned in this article in your very next meeting.

(And you will discover a pro tip to industrialize the template).

Fill the form to get Meeting Agenda and Meeting Minutes template: