How to Avoid Pointless Meetings

We’ve all been there – wasting time in a pointless meeting that could have been an email.

Many, if not most, end up being fairly pointless.

The people running them won’t say that to you (or mostly anyone else) – but they are.

The meetings probably (likely) started out with a point but because of careless or mindless execution and follow-through became pointless.

Are you tired of sitting in meetings wondering if someone will please come in and rescue you or asking yourself “why was this not just an email?” … I have two things to say to you:

  1. Stop wishing because nobody is going to walk in there. They don’t want to be part of that pointless meeting any more than you do!
  2. The answer to your question is that the manager is not a great manager and doesn’t know how to appropriately execute his/her job so that is why you are constantly in pointless meetings.

Are you ready to stop going to pointless meetings?

If you said no, stop reading this now and watch this cute animal video on YouTube… because you like wasting time.

If you said yes, let’s hit it.

The first way to avoid a pointless meeting is by asking five key questions.

To help you out, I’ve created this printable infographic so you can print it and put it within eyeshot of your work station so you can refer to it whenever a meeting invitation crosses your desk.

Using this takes a little bit of guts because you’re going to be negotiating with the other person/people involved.

Before you find a reason this won’t work… yes, this even applies to conversations and requests from your boss.

(Ah… there’s where the “guts” come in…)

Here are the questions and the reasoning behind them.

  1. What is the purpose of this request? You need to know the outcome of the request/meeting in order to determine if this is in line with what you need to be doing. This also lets you know if this should be an email instead. Far too many meeting invitations come simply because people don’t know if you should or should not be included and they’d rather be safe than sorry, and would never want to risk hurting your feelings.The name of the game here is “Find Out What Is Important To Me” and only play those elements.
  2. What’s expected of me for this? If it’s a work request or a meeting invitation, you need to know the expectation. If the expectation is for you to listen because something may be of interest or that perhaps your feedback would be valued, then maybe someone else could also attend and have that same result. If there are no expectations, it probably should not be a priority.
  3. Am I the only person or the right person to do this? Could someone else represent you? Is anyone else capable of completing this task or giving feedback in a meeting? If you don’t have to do it, delegate it.Your time is precious.
  4. What do I need to prepare for this? This question lets the meeting owner or person making the request know you mean business. You want to be efficient and on task, so you want as much prep-work information as humanly possible. If you don’t need to prepare anything for the meeting, revisit the first three questions.
  5. Is my completion of this task/attendance in this meeting in line with my priorities?

    This question is simply for you to ask yourself.
    If it is not in line with your priorities, then don’t do it. If the request is coming from your boss, it’s perfectly fine (and actually I’ve been complimented for doing this very thing) to ask your boss to review your task and priority list with you to see if adjustments need to be made. Oftentimes when a supervisor sees the workload you are carrying and you have the guts to gently and professionally push back in this way, the task somehow magically ends up on someone else’s plate.

The second way to avoid pointless meetings is to schedule yourself out like mad.

Schedule everything.

I have a client who started doing this and not only did his unnecessary meeting request totals plummet, but he started getting requests from people who are much higher than he is in the organization.

Can you figure out why?

Why would he stop getting requests from lateral co-workers and team members but start getting more high-quality requests from people up the chain-of-command?


He was mirroring their behavior.

His calendar looked like their calendars.

Though he didn’t have an assistant managing his availability, he was no longer giving his time away as though it had little to no value.

This also resulted in his meeting deadlines much faster and then do you know what happened next?

A BIG raise and promotion to match… which was the purpose he started coaching with GILD in the first place.

Job well done.

Task accomplished.

Use these tactics and report back to us about how well they work for you!

If you’re interested in working with GILD, click here to schedule a complimentary breakthrough session and we’ll lay out a plan for your success very soon.

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