I have two questions that I’d like to ask you. But, before you respond I want you to know that you can be totally honest, there’s no one here but us.

Meaningless Meetings Questions:

  1. Have you ever had to attend a “meaningless meeting?”
  2. Have you ever had to attend “meaningless meetings” on a regular basis?

If you have answered “yes” to at least one of these questions, then this article is totally for you!

My answers you ask? Is yes…to both questions.

I was in the Military and I also had a corporate job for nine years. In addition to attending the “meaningless meeting,” I had the pleasure of attending the “meeting before the meeting,” and the “meeting after the meeting.” I did that for 15 years. And believe it or not, I don’t drink alcohol or self-medicate.

Earlier this year HubSpot conducted a meeting analysis and discovered that people will waste 31 hours in a month going to meetings.

I know, that’s just crazy!

Knowing my own dark, sordid past with “meaningless meetings,” I was floored when I read a Harvard Business Review Article, “Weekly Meetings.” It is based on one large company that spent 300,000 hours in one year on meetings. By the way…those hours did not include meeting prep time. I just have two words…“Hot Mess!”

The truth is, when you have a motivated and engaged work force, there is no need to keep “meeting” or what I like to call “checking-in.” In fact, I believe that meetings have just become part of the process and no one really has stopped to ask the question:

Is This Meeting Necessary

I am going to say it for the good of the order, “meaningless meetings” are a waste of time, resources, and money!”

So, what’s the point?

Why do organizations hold “meaningless meetings?” Is it intentional or are they really trying to gather information to use for the development and growth of the organization?

I say it’s a combination of both.

  1. There are times when meetings have every intention of being purposeful yet, somehow they take a trip down meaningless avenue.
  2. And then there are times when meetings actually are value added.

As Tactical Strategists we develop systems that eliminate the need for “meaningless meetings.” In fact, we say, the only time that a meeting is necessary is when, there is actually something value added to meet about.

Meetings are necessary when they involve the “3 P’s”:

  1. People
  2. Processes
  3. Profits

Otherwise consider the alternatives below:

  1. Send a short, email that can be read in less than 2 minutes. (Think Twitter, not Facebook.)
  2. Do a quick call. (Think text, not catching up with an old friend.)
  3. If you are in the same location stop by their office or work area and chat about it. (Think oil change, not doctor’s visit.)

When you do decide to have a meeting based on the 3 P’s here are some suggestions for holding a “meaningful meeting”:

  1. Be very selective about who needs to attend.
  2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.
  3. Send out any documents that need to be reviewed ahead of time.
  4. Have an agenda that includes timelines and stick to them no matter what.
  5. Have 1-4 items to cover in any given meeting.
  6. During the last 3 minutes of the meeting take a verbal assessment and rate the effectiveness of the meeting. If it does not fare well, hold two additional meetings and if it still does not have value…It’s outta there!

Added bonus regarding meetings in general:

  1. Try to keep meetings 30 minutes or less.
  2. Use tip #6 above to reduce the amount of meetings you hold by at least 50%.

If we really think about it, the real work happens outside of the meeting. So stop interrupting the work, to have a meeting to check on the status of the work. Having meetings for “meeting” sake needs to be a thing of the past. To keep having them for no good reason is the definition of insanity.

Meet Less, Work More