Is your inbox full of meeting invites?
Workshops. Brainstorming sessions. Not to mention your BAU one on ones with your direct reports. Sometimes your calendar can look like a patchwork quilt featuring all the colours of the rainbow.
But you can’t be everywhere at once. So how do you determine which meetings to attend?
It would be much easier if you could decline or accept them all. However, despite everyone in the organisation wanting some of your precious time, you still have a job to do at the end of the day. You can’t get your work done if you spend your hours going from meeting to meeting.
If you want more time back in your day and would like to experience a lunch break, then implement these techniques to determine which meetings to attend.
Identify the Purpose of the Meeting
Before you hit the button saying you’ll be attending, check if there is an agenda or a description as to what the meeting is about. Unless you’ve had a discussion earlier about the session or are aware of its importance, you should decline it if there is nothing in the description.
It will likely result in an email or phone call from the organiser to ask why you declined to attend. Your answer is simple. You didn’t know what the purpose of the meeting was. You need to be ruthless with your time, and it’s up to meeting organisers to convince you that you should spend it with them.
Investigate Who is Attending the Meeting
Checking to see who is invited to the session is an excellent tip for determining which meetings to attend. If you have colleagues who perform the same role as you or can represent you, then they might be able to go in your place. You will have to return the favour, but it’s a benefit to both of you in that you’ll only need to go to half of the meetings.
If you’re unsure if both of you are needed, then contact the meeting organiser. They likely cast a wide net, knowing that not everyone will accept. Provided that one of you go, that should be all that matters.
Determine if You’re Expected to Contribute to the Meeting
It’s good to understand what your contribution to the meeting will be. Are you only going to show your face? Do you need to be in attendance for a specific piece of news? Should you prepare an update for the group? All of these factors determine if you should attend.
If you are expected to contribute, then you’ll need to prepare for it adequately. This means declining other sessions, so you have time to conduct research and create notes. So be sure to choose wisely about which meetings you attend.
Ask if Details of the Meeting Will be Distributed Afterwards
For some meetings, the organiser will send out minutes or a PowerPoint presentation with all the information for those who couldn’t attend. This is often a sign that these sessions don’t require your presence. It’s unlikely that critical decisions will get made, and the meeting is purely to present an idea or initiative and gather thoughts.
There are better uses of your time if you receive minutes or packs after the event. You can review these documents in your own time and ask questions to the organiser. If there is a follow-up session where a discussion is initiated, then it might be a good idea to attend, so you have an opportunity to collaborate on the project.
The Benefits of Determining Which Meetings to Attend
Time is your most precious resource as a leader. You have a lot of responsibility for your direct reports, colleagues, and senior stakeholders. You can’t spend all your time in meetings, or you won’t achieve anything. Even if you have 2IC’s who can help with operations, you are still needed on the ground. Plus, saying no to some meetings will make the sessions you attend seem more meaningful. Particularly to the organisers.
If you need more tips on where to spend your time, then follow the Better Boss Blog. You’ll find advice and guidance on how to maximise your day as a leader. Follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, so you never miss a post.