028 Don’t attend meetings

Today’s topic has a catchy headline: don’t attend meetings! What do I mean by that? Nearly all of the managers I know complain about the sheer amount of meetings that they need to attend. If we are being honest, we know that the majority of these meetings are worth nothing. We go there because everybody else goes there. And we know that being in a meeting is about good company behavior.  This is where I will start with today’s episode. 

"You're there for achieving, not for sleeping in meetings!"

Don’t attend meetings means to focus. You are not there to waste your time in useless meetings, playing around with your IT gadgets and hoping to survive the day and then go home. You end up being exhausted and have no idea what you achieved today. So the question is always, what did you achieve? I mean, you’re there for achieving, not for sleeping in meetings. What I see in meetings is very often there is this invite in Outlook or whatever, and it only has a headline. There is no explanation for why am I invited to this meeting? What is the expected outcome of that meeting. What is the criteria? When can we finish this meeting?

We must rethink this. Usually we invite for an hour and after an hour, this meeting is over. This is an absolutely wrong approach .You invite for an hour in order to have an hour block, but  if I invite three people to make this decision, then I clarify in the invite, “You are invited because this is the decision that we need to make.” You can put in this information and as soon as the decisions is made, the meeting is over. If you don’t know what you want to achieve in that meeting, there is no point. If you have only one exit criteria, which is the time, this is a stupid thing. My recommendation is do not go to meetings where you don’t understand why you are there. Be smart, this is a career podcast. We talk about your growth; if your boss has no clue at all and he’s just inviting people randomly, then you have to because otherwise he will be judging you. Let’s talk about meetings with invites from peers or those below you, where you can say “OK, no, I won’t attend.” Do not attend meetings where you don’t understand why you are invited and what you have to prepare. When is this type of meeting ever a successful meeting?  


"Do not, after hearing this podcast, cancel all of your meetings tomorrow!"

Now of course you must do this slowly. Do not, after hearing this podcast, cancel all of your meetings tomorrow. Educate the people around you that you’re only attending, when they convinced you that your time this well invested there. You’re not going there like a brainless snail. I know this is what the majority of managers do because it’s the habit. In my last company, my boss was even attending meetings from two levels lower in the hierarchy! Start telling those around you in your team, then the partner teams, and then just spread this. You have to prepare to be valuable in that meeting.

"This is how you can free up time!"

If there are 12 people in the meeting, then this is clear evidence that the person organizing it has not thought about it. This is how you can free up time. My only advice is to encourage the organization to prepare meetings in a good way and skip all the others. Your job is to deliver results, not waste time at meetings. Those are my thoughts on this. If you want, write to me at Olaf@liveitleadit.com . So what is your take on this? Are you attending meetings? If you are not attending meetings, I’m curious as to why. How do you decline a meeting? Do you just simply click on the “No, I won’t attend Button” on Outlook? Or do you write an email? How do you do this? Give me some feedback! Have a great one!

Stay in lead!