Reviewing existing and future meeting invites
The final step to reducing unnecessary meetings is to seriously evaluate every ad hoc meeting invite you receive to confirm there is a clear goal and your participation is essential.
Evaluate all meeting invites you receive
Hired writer Napala Pratini advises Engineering Managers to stop blindly accepting invitations, a temptation that’s especially potent when you’re new to management.
“Question whether you’re really the right person to be in the meeting, what you’ll add, and whether there’s something else that deserves more of your time,” Pratini writes.
When you receive a meeting invitation:
- Stop accepting the invitation as a default
- Start asking the purpose of the meeting if it isn't clear in the invitation
- Start articulating your purpose for attending the meeting and what value you will gain or add by participating
When you're clear on the purpose -the meeting's purpose and your purpose - you'll make a much more informed decision about how you spend your time in meetings.
Make the most of meetings you do attend
Stop working through meetings. It makes you look bad and should signal to you that you don’t absolutely need to be there. “Be firm about how you allocate your time from the beginning, and others will come to respect those boundaries.”
Make sure each of your meetings follows the facilitation best practices including a clear purpose, a detailed agenda, and a purposeful attendee list. Get more recommendations on running effective meetings here.
Practice: Review your meeting invites
Let’s put this last step into practice.
For each of your upcoming ad hoc meetings:
- Ask for the purpose of the meeting if it isn't clear in the invitation
- Articulate your purpose for attending the meeting and what value you will gain or add by participating
- If there is no purpose in attending, decline the meeting invitation
Follow these same practices for every meeting invite you receive in the future. This will start to set better expectations for meeting facilitation across your team and will ensure your time spent in meetings is fully leveraged.
Congrats! You’ve learned how to reduce your meeting load by:
- Performing your meeting audit
- Replacing ad hoc meetings with asynchronous communication
- Cutting or shortening recurring meetings
- Confirming meeting goals and participation expectations
If you’ve completed each of these steps, you should have been able to get some time back for focus time on your calendar. You can learn more about how to protect and make the most of this Focus Time here.