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There’s a picture that’s been floating around social media for a few years of a blue ribbon saying “I survived another meeting that should have been an e-mail”.

People love to share that because it’s so true that many meetings are pointless.

No meeting should be pointless, but the reason is usually because of lack of preparation by the person holding the meeting.

Sure-fire signs a meeting isn’t going to be worth anyone’s time:

  • It’s a recurring meeting. If you’re just getting together every Tuesday morning at 930 as a ‘state of the department’, it can get mundane and become a waste of time.
  • There’s no agenda. If the person who called the meeting doesn’t send out an agenda ahead of time, then the meeting is going to lack direction, and the attendees will be unprepared.
  • If there’s not a set “end time”. Your team has things to do, and if there is a set amount of time, then it keeps things moving along.
  • When there isn’t a designated note-taker. This person will also end the meeting and will recap each person’s action task.
  • If it could be called a “Briefing”. This is typically better than the weekly meeting at the same time in the same room with the same topics. You might call it a “standing meeting”, which is often literally the best option when it could be a Briefing. Stand. 15 minutes. Brief.

Set the expectation that when someone walks in they already know every topic that will be discussed (and will be well equipped with information they need).   Don’t belabor agenda items that are simple items…example, staff lunch on Friday…if this isn’t a planning meeting for that lunch then we don’t need to know if it’s pizza or subs or whatever. Move on.

Fewer meetings. More productive meeting. Efficient briefings. Well-equipped team members. Win-Win-Win-Win.


Pete Herrick is a radio personality, speaker, blogger and podcaster. He works with groups on leadership, culture, transition, efficiency, storytelling and branding. Find him on social media @peteherrick or at Now booking engagements, contact us for availability.