How Can We Beat Meeting Fatigue?

Do you ever feel mentally or physically tired or exhausted from attending so many meetings? Does it seem like some days all you do is run from one meeting to the next? Perhaps your’re just worn out from too many back-to-back meetings? So why do we subject ourselves to all this? Is there a better way? Before you call or accept that next meeting, consider the following video which highlights research from management consultant Dr. Ken Hudson:
  • Executives can spend up to 80% of their working life in meetings
  • Most meetings are a waste of time
  • People feel trapped into accepting every meeting invitation they get
And, while USA companies are fraught with meeting fatigue, it’s clearly not a western only problem, as Dr. Hudson discovered from research conducted in Sydney, Australia.

Should meetings be scrapped altogether?

Most of us will recognize, as the reporter indicates, certain meetings can add value to the organization and stakeholders alike. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, but instead, insist on and champion a new set of ground rules when it comes to holding and attending meetings. The video offers some suggestions for ways we might get a leg up on meeting fatigue:
  • Hold meetings as a last resort. Ask if you can sort things out over a phone call or conference.
  • Ensure all your meetings have a crystal clear purpose. Ask, why are you holding the meeting, how will it add value to the company and stakeholders involved, and what do you hope to achieve?
  • Track and measure the effectiveness of your meetings. Did you achieve the goal(s) you set out to accomplish?
  • Train managers on how to properly prepare for meetings. Check out our free resource of meeting leader guides which covers meeting preparation.
  • Foster a culture in your company where people can feel free to reject a meeting invitation without negative consequences.
  • Focus on scheduling and getting meetings done in less time (i.e. 45 minutes vs. 1 hour). Don’t just fill the time up, either. Aim to end meetings early and be aware of Hudson’s Law of Meetings: “A meeting will expand to fill the time it’s allocated for.”
These are just some of the many ways to hold meetings that matter, and break out from the rut of meeting fatigue. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter. In the comments below, please share: What’s your biggest challenge with holding or attending meetings? What’s your top tip for holding more successful meetings?


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