Planning and Participating in Productive Meetings

Technique #9: Conduct and Participate in Productive Meetings

Meetings can consume the better part of your day, yet so many people wonder at the end of the day: How much did I really accomplish by attending one meeting after the next? Before you go to another meeting, stop for a moment and consider why you’re there in the first place.

  • Is it for informational purposes only? If so, can you obtain the necessary information from someone else?
  • Is it because you have something to contribute? If so, is there a reason you need to stay for the entire meeting? Most people stay because it looks bad to walk out. Plan a politically correct way to exit.
  • Are you the one who requested the meeting? If so, what steps are you taking to ensure that it produces the results you need—without the attendees feeling as though their time has been wasted?

Several years ago, I received a phone call from a mid-level manager for a large health care insurance company named Dan. He told me that he needed help managing his time more effectively; he felt as though he never accomplished anything during the day, always took work home in the evenings, and often worked on weekends to get caught up. I reviewed Dan’s Outlook calendar for the current month during our first session and could instantly see why he felt as though he never accomplished anything: He spent almost every hour of the day in meetings. The majority of his meetings were an hour long, with a couple ...

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