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Say No To Meetings [Fulfillment@Work]

Fulfillment @ Work

   March 4, 2008
   ISSN: 1533-3906


Please forward this newsletter about saying NO to meetings to your family, friends, and coworkers.

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Peter F. Drucker, in The Managers Journal, shares eight practices that leaders can follow to be effective. One of the eight highlights how to make your meetings productive. He says, "Make meetings productive. Every study of the executive workday has found that even junior executives and professionals are with other people -- that is, in a meeting of some sort -- more than half of every business day. Making a meeting productive takes a good deal of self-discipline. It requires that executives determine what kind of meeting is appropriate and then stick to that format. It's also necessary to terminate the meeting as soon as its specific purpose has been accomplished. Good executives don't raise another matter for discussion. They sum up and adjourn."

So how do we deal with a meeting-dominated work environment? See the 7 tips listed below.

All the best,




Just Say No… to Meetings

A client told me how frustrating it is to attend meetings all day. He can't get any of his work done and it's basically impossible to have any semblance of a healthy work-life balance. Unfortunately, the amount of time you spend in meetings increases as you advance within the organization. Anyone at the director level knows that they are gone often from 9 to 5 just attending meetings. They barely have time to check email or voice mail. Attending to their important projects becomes almost impossible unless they work longer and later hours.

Many companies have a meeting-driven culture. It's an opportunity to connect, chat or just catch-up. Often times, the meeting wasn't actually needed at all or you just don't need to attend. You can't change the culture. The meetings will always be there, but your time will not. So, let's look at 7 tips on how to manage and eliminate meetings.

7 Ways to Say No To Meetings.

(1) Leave meetings early.
If you don't need to be at the meeting the entire time, leave early so you can get other work done. This might feel impossible to do because it might appear like you don't care. However, informing the meeting organizer that you have something important that needs to get done is a great excuse free up time to higher priority work.

(2) Delegate the meetings to someone else.
You can delegate and empower someone else to attend the meeting in your place. Afterwards, ask him or her to "download" the important points so you are still informed.

(3) Suggest alternatives to meetings.
Oftentimes, a memo, quick conference call or one-on-one discussion can take the place of a formal meeting. If you sense an opportunity to stamp out an unnecessary meeting, take the initiative. You'll not only free up time for yourself, you'll win the undying admiration of your coworkers.

(4) For each meeting, decide how important it is for you to attend.
Compare your most urgent, important projects to each meeting you need to attend. Decide which is more worthy of your time. Most of the time you will choose the important work and decide the meeting is less important. This will help you learn how to say no to meetings.

(5) Make sure meetings are prepared, have a clear agenda and a limited time frame.
You can influence the people who are preparing the meeting to be prepared and have a clear and defined agenda. Suggest a time limit on each discussion item and the meeting itself so it can run smoothly and efficiently.

(6) Go to 50% of the meetings you are currently attending.
If you compare which is more important - attending meetings or getting your more important projects done -you will realize that you can eliminate at least 50% of the meetings you attend. By making this choice you will be focused on what is most important and becoming more productive.

(7) Block out time in your calendar to do the work that is being pushed aside by meetings.
You have emails, things on your to-do list, projects and tasks that need to get done daily. Block out time during your day to catch up and get the work done. You will send a message to yourself and others that getting your work done is a priority.



A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.
~ James T. Kirk ~

The real process of making decisions, of gathering support, of developing opinions, happens before the meeting or after.
~ Terrence Deal ~

Meetings are a symptom of bad organization. The fewer meetings, the better.
~ Peter F. Drucker ~


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