Too many meetings? Back to back meetings can mean you are attending the last meeting without having taken any actions since the previous one. Or you are invited to meetings that don’t get anywhere or don’t really need your attendance. Or sitting in meetings that would have been sorted by a short email or phone call. Office life really can be meeting hell and all you can think about is getting back to your desk to get some work done!! And a drink 🙂
So a few quick meeting tips:
#1 accept all meetings – ok I know this sounds like it will make things worse. But if you don’t accept, you will be spending time explaining why you didn’t accept. Best to accept them all. But half of them will get cancelled anyway. If they do – leave them in your calendar anyway. People won’t book you at that time – or if they try just say “I have a conflict”. (you can always say you forgot it was cancelled and/or blame it on an outlook glitch). This will free up some time.
#2 Skip meetings you think are irrelevant or low exposure or if your boss/senior management isn’t there – especially if a lot of people are invited. Half the time people invite as many people as possible and don’t need you anyway. If anyone asks you “had a conflict” or “had a fire to put out”. These are get out of jail free cards and are great excuses for being absent from meetings. And there is always the famous “it wasn’t on my calendar / it didn’t send me a reminder” excuse where you blame Outlook again.
#3 Conference calls – by now you have probably learned to put the phone on speaker, muted – then do other work. But sometimes its hard to concentrate with blah blah going on. So after 30 minutes don’t tell anyone you are leaving – just hang up. And use the excuses above in #2 if anyone notices you are gone.
#4 If you asked to set up a meeting you don’t think is important or relevant. Set it up immediately. That will keep everyone happy. A few days later just cancel it with no explanation. If anyone asks, give an excuse – “i had a conflict but I will reschedule”. And don’t reschedule! Chances are they may forget you cancelled and you just got out of the meeting! Another excuse is you tell them you actually rescheduled but “maybe forgot to add them to the new request.. but anyway the meeting decision was…”
Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your time and get out of meeting hell!