It’s happened again, you’ve been called in for another round table meeting/ unnecessary coffee/ future planning session that will take hours out of your day and achieve less than you could have  with a couple of emails. Now we’re not saying all meetings are fruitless, we think getting your team together to discuss their projects can help the team work more positively and effectively. Meeting our clients face-to-face allows us to understand their needs and relate to them in a way technology won’t allow. But sometimes it’s just one too many and at just the wrong time. Here are some tried and true strategies for maximising your time and getting out of the wrong kind of meetings.

Firstly, be honest. You can make it known to your company/client that you think the time would be better spent elsewhere. Keep in mind the needs of the person calling the meeting as their material may be better discussed in an open forum, face-to-face.

Recommend that it will save on travel time and be less disruptive to both of your work flows not to meet up but to discuss matters in another way.

Suggest alternatives- if this meeting is one of a series of ongoing discussions you can suggest saving non-priority decisions until next time. If it is not a regular occurrence you can suggest calling, emailing (also preferable if it serves you to have thorough documentation of the discussion), utilising Skype or new services such as Trello.

As much as lying or creating excuses (you need to wash the dog or bail someone out of jail) could seem like a pain-free way to get out of work- it will come back to bite you. If your fibs don’t get discovered directly, frequently using excuses can make you seem unreliable and give you a reputation for having too many competing priorities. It can also cause problems when you have a genuine need to get out of work, leaving people unable to trust your real emergencies.

If there is no way out of the meeting we suggest being specific about how much time you can devote to it. Set appointments at the conclusion of the meeting in order to force yourself and others to stick to the agenda.

Prior to any meeting, ascertain the discussion points and be prepared. You can speed things up by ensuring that you have ready answers to questions and topics.

Finally, get creative! If your company or client meeting doesn’t have specific discussion points- find out what they would like to achieve. Suggest an alternative activity that you would enjoy to achieve those same outcomes. For example you could ask the boss to invest in team building activities once a quarter rather than spending 3 hours per week on a round-table discussion.

We think there are better ways to build your team than sitting around having excessive discussions. We know how to get your team active, communicating, focused and working together to solve challenges. Save your company’s time and work effectively by cutting back on what isn’t working and replacing it with what does.

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