How to avoid pointless meetings?

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be meetings.” —­Dave Barry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author.

In the morning of 20170426, I received an email asking me to attend a meeting that serves other’s agenda and I know that it will be futile for me. Our time is our currency, commodity, and irreversible gift. There are many things that I need to deliver, I must prioritize ruthlessly.

To avoid pointless meetings:

  1. learn to say No diplomatically: be courageous yet tactful e.g. an overlap responsibility (a tips shared by Honey Panda who has been working 7 days a week since late Summer 2016)
  2. ask people to write reports or questions before the meetings
  3. encourage promptness
    1. schedule meetings at weird times e.g. 1.17 pm
    2. do not waste time telling stragglers what was discussed before they arrived
  4. limit the number of people, tailor the invitation list
  5. make meetings uncomfortable e.g. standing meeting, walk-and-talk meeting as advocated by Nilofer Merchant.
  6. use video-conferencing, skype, etc.
  7. more ideas to come …

If we need to have a meeting:

  1. set and adhere to an agenda
  2. use visuals e.g. a whiteboard to get people to express ideas (remember to make a record of it e.g. by taking a photo of the brainstormed whiteboard)
  3. make decisions, assign tasks, set deadlines.


One comment

  1. […] Work better: simplify things, do only the essentials, avoid pointless meetings. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: