How to avoid having pointless meetings at work 1


Poorly managed meetings will take employees away from what they are being paid to do; leaving phones unattended, emails unanswered and delaying in getting unfinished tasks up to date. The fact of the matter is that people come from meetings with more to do than what they could have accomplished in an hour. That’s not to say that meetings need to be taken out of the workplace completely. There are better ways to have successful meetings without wasting anyone’s time.

An hour tops

Meetings should last no longer that an hour. It is pointless and less productive to take your employees away from their work so that they can talk about what they are doing.  If you should talk about a report, your employee can send you their proposal via email. If you want to be kept in the loop regarding job progress, then schedule a 15 minute meeting with your head of department after work. Every meeting should be held because they will increase productivity, not delay the process.

Stay on track

Make it a point to have a limited amount of agendas to get through in every meeting. If there are other things to attend to, and if it is only between a few people rather than the whole team who is sitting inside the meeting room, ask them to take it outside, before or after the meeting.

Execute ideas in one go

Nothing influences a bad start to a meeting than to have attendees who come in with a blank mind. Take ownership of your ideas and start ahead, by coming up with the solution before the meeting starts. It will save a lot of valuable time. Stop proposing f good ideas just to wait for someone else to execute it.

Heard it all loud and clear?

How often do you come out of a meeting thinking that your manager had said one thing but it was not what you heard? Clear up anything that might have been misinterpreted before exiting the room.

Business schools in South Africa teach the skills to run a good business and to provide opportunities for those who want to make a success of their business. One on the key reasons for success in businesses is that the way the people are organised and the way they do things. If the organisational skills of a business is weak, that business will slowly crumble. 

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One thought on “How to avoid having pointless meetings at work

  • Thokozani Absalom

    Dear Chantel Harris 1.Make sure the meeting has a clear purpose.If I could scream this, I would:“What is the purpose of this meeting?”If you can’t define the purpose clearly, or you’re obfuscating it in order to get me into the meeting then shame on you.
    2.Avoid suspense.There’s no place in meetings for suspense. Whether you’re delivering bad news or good news – just get to the point. You can explain all the circumstances of your news after the fact, but don’t keep people sitting around waiting.
    3.Document what’s going on.The best thing about a meeting is not remembering what was talked about 5 minutes after it was finished. I suppose to avoid pointless meetings I could say,“be remarkable and memorable”but barring that, pick one person as secretary and have them distribute their notes later on.
    4.Avoid distractions.Every meeting has at least one guy that’s distracted by something. He’s looking at his computer screen, staring out the window, signaling to people walking by the conference room, or picking his nose. Boot his butt out of there, he’s Mr. Pointless Meeting.
    5.Have an agenda.This won’t work for impromptu meetings, but an agenda is a very good way to keep people on track. Distribute it beforehand.Don’t ask for everyone’s approval.If you do, and don’t get it, you’ll have a harder time following the agenda. Agendas are an opt-out effort; if someone doesn’t put in suggestions or request changes (or respond in any way) they’ve – by default – accepted the agenda.
    6.Avoid regular meetings if there’s no agenda.Following point #4, if you’re having a regular, weekly meeting but there’s no agenda, why have the meeting? If you say “habit” then poke yourself in the eye. Meetings aren’t meant to satisfy your need for organization and habitual, mindless behaviors; they’re there to solve problems.
    7.Schedule something critical right after.If you have the sense that a meeting may be pointless schedule something important right after. Tell the attendees as soon as you get in there, so you’ve got an escape route setup. You could always fake it, or even have someone call you during the meeting to get out, but it’s much more effective if you legitimately have to move on. It’ll help you keep others focused, moving through the agenda and accomplishing something.