The Overinvitation Sucks

How many times this week have you sat in a meeting and asked yourself:

  • “Why I am here?”
  • “Why are members of the sales team here? This issue doesn't concern them, and they're only making it worse.”
  • “How does this information affect me?”
  • “Why can't they just let me know what decision they make? I'm fine either way.”
  • “What else could I be doing right now?”
  • And here's the biggie: “How many times have I felt this way today?”

The overinvitation syndrome prevails in meeting scenarios in which the organizer has an ego problem, doesn't understand the resources needed for decision making, or doesn't want to hurt someone's feelings for not being included. The result? Inviting too many people to the meeting—people who may not be stakeholders in the decision, who may not need to be privy to the information, or who may not even be affected by the outcome.

Who to invite becomes a bigger decision than many might think. To alleviate the stress of deciding, meeting planners err on the side of inviting everyone. Unfortunately, that is counterproductive to the meeting's goals, especially if it's a problem-solving meeting. Why? Because as you increase the number of attendees, you exponentially increase your inability to reach any decision. Hence, you have a greater chance of accomplishing nothing and a bigger chance that your meeting will suck.

What about all-hands meetings, you ask? Sure, they include everyone, which is just fine as long as the organizer has studied Agenda ...

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