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They’re Baaaack! The Spooky Return of Inefficient Meetings

If there is one thing that has been frightening me lately, it is the return of the ghost of inefficient meetings: the meetings where, on average, only 5 to 10 minutes of one hour are considered valuable.

That data point is the scary thought I have heard from clients and audiences for nearly a decade prior to the pandemic. Think of that: More than 75% of our time in a 1-hour meeting is wasted. If I told you that the product you made was going to have a 75% waste factor, you would think I was crazy. And you would not be in business very long if you continued that way.

During the pandemic, this stat improved to an average of 20 to 30 minutes of an hour-long meeting being valuable—due mainly to virtual meetings that were better prioritized in need and attendees. But the ghost of the past has returned in force. Consistently over the past several weeks, I have heard clients across a variety of sectors share that their meetings are incredibly inefficient and lack value once again.


More than 75% of our time in a 1-hour meeting is wasted. There is a better way.


Three Ways to Cut Waste from Inefficient Meetings

There is a better way. Here are three things you can do immediately to cut the waste from your meetings:

1. Reduce meetings to 30 minutes.  Ask people to justify why they need more than 30 minutes. There are valid reasons for longer meetings – such as for brainstorming or problem-solving, but most meetings can be shortened to 30 minutes. That cuts the waste in half or more.

2. Apply my POP PowerPlay in your meetings. Meetings without a purpose and agenda often become meandering rabbit trails of inefficiency.  Check out my POP PowerPlay™ to ensure all invitees understand why we’re there and what we expect to achieve. The technique also helps to assure that you have the right people on the invite list, versus the “reply all” that can create a chaotic meeting.

3. Reduce the number of meetings. As we approach the year end, reflect on your meetings and apply my Zero Budget Meeting PowerPlay™ to reevaluate the need, priority, and value of your meetings. Too often, meetings become part of our routine, and we find ourselves sitting in a sea of wasted time.

Reflect again on the data that more than 75% of time in meetings feels worthless. That’s an incredible amount of waste. If you’re experiencing this, I encourage you to change it. Try these techniques to help you have more time to focus on your priorities. By doing so, you will see your team’s performance increase substantially.


Transform Disruption into Opportunity

Do you need help working through productivity challenges with your team? Contact us to learn about Bill’s keynote speaking, executive coaching, and facilitation services.