Meetings... what’s the point?

I was coaching a client last week when we entered into the subject of meetings and how these ate into the working week. It amazes me how many people – whether it’s in education, the public, not-for-profit, or commercial sectors – still conduct regular meetings, just because they always have. You know the type… monthly manager’s meeting, weekly team update, daily meeting to moan about people not washing their own mugs up, etc., etc.

With the huge pressures on all employees and leaders, isn’t it time we looked for better alternatives and consigned pointless meetings to the dustbin?

Here are some coaching questions to help improve your productivity around meetings…

‘What’s the purpose of this meeting?’
Is there a specific outcome that can be met by the end of the meeting? Does the stated outcome really happen?

‘What would happen if we didn’t hold this meeting?’
This way you can check the reality of the situation. Often the answer to this question is, ‘nothing,’ or ‘abject relief on behalf of all attendees…’

‘Is there another way to address the issue?’
Think of as many alternatives as you can, including having shorter meetings, less frequently, making better use of IT, improving team communications in other ways, etc., etc.

‘What can we drop from our agenda?’
Have you attended meetings, where there’s a standing item of ‘latest updates’, or ‘Policies & Procedures’? No-one needs to sit in a meeting to be talked at, so why not find other ways to pass on information – and to build team and leader accountability at the same time.

‘Is there an unofficial outcome from this meeting?’
Often the official reason for the meeting has become redundant, but there may be other hidden outcomes and needs that still need to be met – for example, the monthly meeting may be the only time the team has to engage with each other personally.  This is certainly the case for many teams who may be geographically dispersed, or even for people just working from home.  If this is the case, look at addressing that issue specifically – e.g. would this need be better met by setting up regular team coaching sessions, or social evenings?

Hopefully that’s given you food for thought to begin to free up some time in your busy schedule. If you’d like more information on how we can help you improve your individual, team, leader, or organisational productivity and practice then please contact us at

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Karen Amos is an executive coach and Director and founder of BrightBird Coaching & Training. She supports business owners and managers to get the best out of themselves and their teams. She brings a down-to-earth approach to improving working lives through better leadership, communication and working relationships.