How to stop wasting time in meetings?

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Have you ever walked out of a meeting thinking it was pointless? It is certainly that the organizer did not do what was necessary … So that this does not happen to you, here are some basic reminders – still too little known – so as not to waste time in meetings.

Target invitations

First of all, it is not necessary to invite everyone to a meeting. “It is the role of the organizer to target the people to be convened in order of importance: the speakers essential to the good running of the meeting and the participants who can afford to miss it”, underlines Yasmina Hardi, of the firm. Hay coaching.

“A little email with the planned theme and a reminder at the start of the meeting, that's not a luxury!”

A precise agenda, a speaking time to respect

Once the right people have been invited, basic rules must be respected to gain in efficiency. The first of these: an agenda clearly set upstream. “This way, participants can arrive with elements and know when to intervene,” comments Bérangère Touchemann. A little email with the planned theme and a reminder at the start of the meeting, it's not a luxury! It is also important to specify not only the start time but also the end time of the meeting, to avoid unnecessary digressions and off-topics.

Conflicts to be resolved, a voice to be measured

“It is up to the organizer to supervise the meeting and revive the debates if necessary”, remarks Yasmina Hardi. Example: submit an interrogative sentence such as “Did everyone express themselves as they wanted before moving on to the next point?”, So that the participants do not feel frustrated. What if the discussion escalates? “You have to know how to take responsibility and decide,” says Bérangère Touchemann. It is up to the organizer to decide whether the discussion falls within the scope of the agenda or if it deviates from it, in which case it must be ended by explaining that this is not the time to discuss the subject that is on the agenda. makes conflict. “Example:” The objective of this meeting was to decide on such and such a subject. I am afraid this discussion will stray from the original topic. Therefore, I take note of it, but I invite you to discuss it at a future meeting. ”

Lessons to be learned, a report to write and distribute

Once the meeting is over, it is not a question of the participants coming out without holding anything back. The best is to send them a report by email. “This practice implies rigor for the organizer. He should be able to write a summary by taking up the broad outlines of the meeting, the subjects that were debated and the elements that could have been submitted to a vote or to a decision, ”notes Yasmina Hardi. “This is useful not only for the participants but also for those who could not make it to the meeting,” adds Bérangère Touchemann. ”

What to do if the organizer does not fulfill his missions?

  • If you are invited to a meeting that does not concern you, do not hesitate to contact the organizer to clarify things and if necessary justify your absence. The idea is not to pass yourself off as a unwilling colleague but as someone who knows how to manage their time and prioritize. “And be careful not to commit initially to finally withdraw at the last moment. It is better to show clarity and frankness from the start, it is always more appreciated, ”warns Bérangère Touchemann, career coach.
  • If you have not been reminded of the purpose of the meeting beforehand, “it is not forbidden to ask for some details by calling the organizer at the start of the meeting:” Would it be possible to recall the purpose of the meeting with the outline that will be discussed, please? ” », Advises Bérangère Touchemann.
  • Finally, if you have not been entitled to a review, nothing prevents you from requesting one or comparing your notes with your colleagues to take stock of what you may have missed.


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