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How to Get Through Another Meeting that Could’ve Been an Email

How to Get Through Another Meeting that Could’ve Been an Email

It isn’t uncommon for many employers to hold a meeting just “to hold a meeting.” According to a report by the Harvard Business Review, more than 70% of the surveyed managers said that most business meetings are unproductive and inefficient. In many cases, these meetings could simply be an email that takes only a few minutes of the participant’s time rather than a chunk of their day.

When you find yourself trapped in one of these unproductive meetings, here are a few ideas to help you stay productive and get something out of it. 

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Take Notes


Taking notes can help you pay attention, even in a boring meeting. Bring a notebook with you to jot down ideas, write down instructions or, keep a list of potential questions. If you are truly struggling to pay attention, be more detailed in your note-taking. Write down who made certain comments so you can go back to ask follow up questions.


Focus On Your Gratitude List


Boring and unproductive meetings can make you agitated and annoyed. However, by spending the time thinking about things you are grateful for with your employment, you will focus on the positive of your job and will keep those negative thoughts at bay. When your mind starts to wander, write down three work-related things you are grateful for.


Prepare Ahead of Time


Take the time to read the agenda, or other documents, prior to the meeting. Look over them and write down any questions you may have. Do your research so you come to the meeting well prepared and educated. This allows you to participate more in the meeting and have a better understanding of what is going on.


Arrive at the Meeting Early


While you certainly don’t want to spend more time than necessary in boring and unproductive meetings, you also don’t want to be uncomfortable either. When you are standing for long periods of time, are clear in the back of the room, are hot, etc., it makes it even more difficult to be productive and motivated by the meeting. Aim to arrive a few minutes early so you can find a good seat that will help you stay focused. 


If you are in charge of the meeting, a few things you need to consider include: 


  • Keep the meeting short. Meetings longer than 30 minutes are too long and usually unproductive. 
  • Stay on topic. Remember that your co-worker’s time is in your hands. 
  • Let employees know what the meeting is about in advance so they can be prepared.


There is no reason you should dread the scheduled meetings throughout your workday. With the above tips, you can still stay focused and get things done even when a meeting could have been an email.