Meetings are so often a waste of time


“A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.”
– James T. Kirk, star trek
It feels like we always need to have them… So many of them.
What’s the alternative? If you don’t have a meeting then you can’t get buy in, right?
To me, building consensus is one of the most abused reasons to have a meeting. Meetings for building consensus, are usually a waste of everyone’s time.
Another is meetings on topics that most invitees don’t care about, but you feel the need to include everyone. I’ve set up these meetings. To those I invited, I’m sorry.
If your day is made up of meetings, it means your company is run by fear, and you are not productive.
“Meetings are a symptom of bad organization. The fewer meetings the better.”
– Peter F. Drucker
I believe, when you have a culture based on fear, the best way to fit in and not get blamed for a decision is to have a meeting. If you want to survive in this kind of culture and get along, then you have to have meetings.

If you must have a meeting, consider how many people are in the meeting? Whats getting decided?
This past year I’ve tried very hard to avoid them. I’ve really tried to not set up meetings. Internally in Skellig I take part in very few. I found that when I had lots of meetings setup I hated working at my company because I wasn’t productive. A meeting mid afternoon meant I didn’t do anything of consequence for a half hour before or after.
Meetings break up the day in a very destructive way, so they need to be worth it.
Could you just decide on something and sent an email to document your thinking for anyone that might care?
We need to discuss, but we owe it to everyone we work with to bring them to meetings as the exception, not the rule.
Meetings in general are boring and irresponsible with attendees time.
What I’ve found useful is…
1. When you do set one up makes sure you invite the least amount of people… Ideal is you and one other.
And
2. Someone has to be made responsible for each item discussed.