Time is Precious, Stop Wasting it in Bad Meetings

Collaboration | Meetings

Time is Precious, Stop Wasting it in Bad Meetings

I’ve written before on the good and bad of meetings. You know, corporate America’s favorite pastime. So, I thought I’d milked the topic for all its worth. That was until we had IA senior consultant, Michael Reidy, on a podcast episode of Water Cooler Wisdom where Michael shared some amazing insights (per usual). So, before you send that next meeting invite, take a quick read of this article and perhaps reconsider whether that meeting is necessary or how you might set it up for success.

Why Meetings Seem Awful
Let's start with the cold, hard cash aspect: $37 billion vanishing into the ether annually in the U.S. because of poorly conducted meetings. And when you dig a little deeper, the true loss isn't just the greenbacks—it's the spark inside each person that dims every time they sit through another "meeting that could've been an email."

So, why the existential drama over meetings? Because, as Michael put it—and I'm paraphrasing here—our time and talent are the most precious gifts we bring to the work place. Yet, if we're herded into meetings without purpose or direction, isn't that akin to... well, daylight robbery? But of the soul?

Let's rewind to that episode with Michael for a sec. We talked about the sheer enormity of time meetings consume. Picture it: a staggering 42% of folks chained to the conference table for 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes even two. What could we accomplish in that lost time? Cure for common cold? World peace? At least several more episodes of your favorite series, right?

But here's the kicker: it's not just the time—it's the life slipping through our fingers. Hyperbolic? Maybe. But I've felt that dread, that "Oh no, not another one" feeling every time a meeting invite pops up. It's a sentiment echoed throughout the workplace, from the quiet ones who retreat into their shells like I've written about in my 'Introvert's Guide to Meetings', to the leaders who watch their team's morale deflate like a botched soufflé.


Take Back Our Time & Talent
That's why we need to wrestle our meetings back from the jaws of the productivity-beast. In our popular workshop Essential Facilitation®, we teach thoughtful planning to ensure each meeting’s success. It’s not simply finding a time on everyone’s schedule. Take the time to plan an informative agenda. (Shoutout to our meeting agenda template here which now includes an instructional video from yours truly). Consider if you even need a meeting. If you do, make sure you’re including the correct people in your meeting. Ensure that what you’re covering is truly worth everyone’s time and talent.

So, before you hit 'send' on that next invite, take a breath. Is this meeting necessary? Can it be an email? A message? A carrier pigeon, maybe? If not, how can you make sure it's not another life-leeching, soul-sucking affair?

The goal is to transform these potential black holes of productivity into supernovas of collaborative brilliance. And it's not rocket science—it's simply about bringing everyone's A-game to the table, valuing their time and insights, and remembering that while we're all in this together, no one wants to feel like they're stuck in corporate Groundhog Day.

Looking to save lives—well, actually, to save people’s time? Check out our popular workshop Essential Facilitation®, frequently trusted by knowledge-intensive companies where success hinges on cross-functional, cross-generational, and cross-cultural collaboration to upended how entire organizations conduct their meetings so that people have a framework for greater engagement, and efficiency, and productivity.

You can also check out the full episode with Michael Reidy here.

About Jake Blocker

Jake Blocker creates and executes marketing initiatives for Interaction Associates (IA). He’s involved from initial ideation to the creative development and the analysis of the results. If you were to merge the left and right brain into a job, you would have Jake’s role at IA.