I would like to have fewer meetings

  • Post category:Blog

I hear many complaints about the number of meetings, the irrelevance and the inefficiency of meetings. Meetings use up your valuable time and break your workflow, and meetings lead to more work on top of your already overloaded list of tasks. Worst case, you have ‘back-to-back’ meetings without any time to yourself. Would you like to meet less?

Fewer meetings, guaranteed

You can apply the following tips if you would like to avoid attending the meeting. Entertain the thought that you don’t need to be in every meeting you are invited to. If you are very busy, avoid more meetings.

I would like to have fewer meetings. Ik wil minder vergaderen.
Strategies to have fewer meetings
  1. What is the goal?
    Ask for the goal of the meeting. If no goal is provided, it is doubtful it will be an effective meeting. You politely decline the meeting.
  2. What is your role?
    If the goal is clear, what is your possible or expected contribution? Depending on the answer, you will have these options:
    1. You have been invited out of politeness.
      Thank the organizer and decline the meeting.
    2. You have to provide information.
      Can you make the information available through a document? Send the document to the organizer and decline.
    3. The result of the meeting is important to you.
      Ask for the presentation and minutes of the meeting.
  3. Do you need to be in the meeting all the time?
    If the goal is clear and your presence could be required, there is another escape. Accept the meeting (time reservation) with the notice that you will be on ‘stand-by’ and can be reached by phone. If needed, the meeting organizer can call you in.

If you suffer from too many meetings, try one of these strategies with the first new invitation you get. Check out the next blog if you have difficulty saying ‘no’.

This is a translation of one of the tips from the Dutch book on time management: In tien minuten naar zeeën van tijd – Praktisch timemanagement voor minder stress en meer rust.