The Secret To Not Wasting People's Time

On average how much of your time do you waste in bad meetings every week? I don't mean bad as in the people are awful, but bad in the sense that nothing is actually accomplished (be honest). I had coffee with someone the other week and they confessed that their meetings were feeling like more of a burden and less of a benefit. To be honest it took me right back to my days of working for a big company.

Having to sit through some very painful talks, listening to information that didn't apply to me, and often walking away wondering what exactly was the point of that?

So what's the fix??? As I see it meetings are an amazing way to connect, are necessary regardless of the size of your organization, and must be a valuable use of time. Meetings are the same whether they're with clients, staff, or business partners. Now that you're in charge it's important to get in the routine of creating purposeful, result oriented meetings. 

  • Get clear on the purpose of the meeting. What are you trying to accomplish? Is it to solve a problem, brainstorm, or update? As people who have a lot on the go, make sure it's a meeting worth having. 

  • Always have a meeting agenda. No matter who it's with make sure everyone involved knows exactly what you're talking about. I'm talking a written agenda (saying things in conversation doesn't count. Sorry!)

  • Be very mindful of who needs to be present. Is the information vital for them? Always think about who the key players are. 

  • Make sure you give everyone enough time to prepare. Yes some people can think on their feet, but the majority of people need time to think over what they want to say. Always make sure everyone can contribute equally and in a way that feels good for them.

  • Whose running the meeting? It's better to have one person in charge of wrangling. We all know someone whose a talker and loves going off on tangents (this is me sometimes...) If someone is steering the meeting off course make a note and gently remind them that can be discussed later. 

  • If you have an expert note taker in your midst assign that task to them! It's important to write down what was said. Let's be honest you'll forget approximately 2 minutes after you leave the meeting. 

  • Never leave without your clear TO-DO's! If tasks are to be completed by someone else make sure they have it written down and understand what the expectation is. 

Lastly HAVE FUN. Meetings shouldn't put you to sleep. There is a way to ensure people are engaged, productive, and enjoying themselves.

Wishing you all the happy and productive meetings your schedule can handle!

Talk soon,


Sara McCabe