If you’re like most people, your schedule is packed full of useless meetings that you don’t want to attend. Between accomplishing everything on your task list, replying to emails, maintaining your personal life, and more, you just not have enough time to sit down and participate in a meeting. A lot of times you probably don’t even see the value of the meetings you’re invited to.
Most of us spend too much time in meetings. And the time that we invest in meetings is usually a waste. Meetings are typically boring, repetitive, too long, and irrelevant. Worst of all, they don’t always accomplish something. It’s time for a meeting revolution! Start questioning the value of the meetings you attend instead of just mindlessly accepting every meeting invite you get.
Here are five specific questions that you should always ask yourself when you’re trying to decide what meetings to attend.
1. Will this meeting assist you in achieving your goals?
Consider the return on investment with your meetings. Will you obtain new information, get a fresh perspective, or get the chance to share about your challenges? What you glean as a result of the meeting should outweigh the time and energy you have to put into it. If nothing purposeful is going to happen, why are you going?
Your time and energy are valuable resources you should not invest lightly. And if you don’t take action and protect your resources, no one else will. It’s your responsibility to ensure you are investing your time and energy into worthwhile meetings. That means you’ll end up declining some meeting invitations.
2. What contribution can you make to the discussion?
Maybe the meeting you’ve been invited to is necessary, but it’s pointless for you to be present. Sometimes it can be hard to admit that you’re not essential. But that’s okay because everyone in your company has different strengths and weaknesses. When you know what yours are, you can decide which meetings you can benefit from and contribute to. You can also rule out the meetings you don’t need to attend.
Every meeting you attend should align with your company’s strategic priorities. If your presence won’t benefit anyone’s who’s there, why would you go? If you have to ask yourself why you were invited, decline. Or if you think there actually is a reason you’ve been invited, you can always email the meeting’s organizer. If even they don’t know why they are inviting you, then you definitely need to accept the invitation. You would know if there was a good reason for you to go.
3. Will anyone notice if you don’t attend?
Do you really think that your co-workers will realize whether or not you attend the meeting? Just because you got an invite doesn’t mean your presence is actually needed at the meeting. Check your ego. If it’s a company-wide meeting, odds are, no one will realize if you don’t attend. Only go to meetings where you can truly make a difference. If you’re not contributing anything to the meeting, your presence will probably be overlooked and unimportant
4. Will this meeting be energizing?
Some meetings are so boring that they can feel like they are sucking the life out of you. You have to sit in a hot, stuffy room. The meeting is long and draining and sometimes characterized by arguing and negativity. And for meetings that aren’t necessary for you to attend, you’re needlessly suffering. There are so many things in your life that will drain you anyway between work and your personal life. If a meeting is not necessary and will only put a damper on your motivation and productivity, don’t go to it.
Get clear on what your specific return on investment for the meeting will be. If this meeting will just be a re-hash of recent meetings, don’t go! You shouldn’t have to suffer for the meeting organizer’s poor judgment in organizing the meeting. Only attend meetings that leave you feeling inspired and motivated.
5. What will you not be able to do if you don’t attend?
Meetings are not costless. Remember that whenever you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to another. Think about this: who will you disappoint if you attend this meeting? If you’re like me, your family is the first thing in your life to suffer when you say yes to too many meetings. I know that in the past when I’ve overbooked my schedule, I’ve sacrificed time I could have spent with my daughter. While my co-workers might not have missed me at these meetings, my daughter certainly noticed my absence.
Don’t let your ego say “yes” when you’ll end up letting down someone you care about. Stop acting like you have an endless amount of time to go to every meeting you’re invited to. Time is a finite resource. Spend it wisely! Don’t ever assume that attending a meeting is the most important use of your time. Chances are, you have more important tasks at work or at home.
It’s time for you to have a manageable number of meetings in your life. Take back control of your schedule and start being selective about what meetings you attend. Minimize your meetings and become part of the meeting revolution!