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How to Cut Your Meetings by Half – In both Time and Number…

How to Cut Your Meetings by Half – In both Time and Number…

orangeTime to Read: About 1/100th of the time you will save

How to Cut Your Meetings by Half – In both Time and Number… 

Know where you want to go

Hold fewer meetings that take less time and are more useful

Know where you are now

Lots of meetings that take a lot of time. Almost everyone agrees you have too many meetings, thinking they are a necessity, not a choice. Oh yes, and you have some people whose Linked In profile could well read:  ‘professional attender of meetings.’

Know what you have to do to get to where you want (and need) to go: 

  1. Every meeting has a clear outcome that helps the organisation move forward.
  2. Check if attending the meeting is adding value. The cost of your time, plus what else you could be achieving instead, must be set against how much benefit there is to the organisation in attending. If there is no benefit in these terms, make sure your contribution IS worthwhile – or don’t go.
  3. The Chair issues the agenda at least one week in advance. Pre-reads must be submitted 3 days before the meeting, and apologies for absence will never stop a decision being made – if it might, a deputy must attend. Either way, if a decision must be made it will be made.
  4. The Agenda must state, continued in the 2nd Half…


Oranges are a great choice of snack at half time as they provide easily digested carbohydrates, water and vitamin C. They give youngsters that all-important energy boost they need for the second half.’
(Might work for meeting attendees too!)


2nd HALF

The Agenda must state:

Meeting Type and Outcome

Date. Time (start and maximum duration) and location



  • Max 15 Minutes of Truth in the Room (Any Other Business).
  • The agenda items will then be listed in order of priority to achieve the outcome, with a time period next to each, the person leading the item and whether it is for information or decision and if for decision what decision that needs to be made.
  • Anyone and everyone can say anything, at any time, on any subject, without fear or favour.
  • People arrive at the point on the issue being discussed, with the person owning and leading the item summarising what people absolutely must know in their very first sentence – their headline.
  • People who disagree with a proposed action must come up with an alternative.
  • Date of next meeting (if one is needed).

5. In the meeting – Chair person’s role:

  • Realises it’s not about them – it’s about the organisation first, and attendees second.
  • Checks everyone needs to be there – and has a financial cost and value as above.
  • All pre-reads have been read – so move to discussion and decision.
  • Agree in advance how a decision will be made (vote; expert decides, whatever) – never by consensus (waste of time – nothing ever gets done).
  • When the outcome has been achieved, the meeting ends
  • Actions are issued within 24 hours (By item, with a single owner for ALL ACTIONS with date of delivery.

Do it!

Comment below…

With my love and best wishes



8 Responses to How to Cut Your Meetings by Half – In both Time and Number…

  1. Found this in a survey, oranges have even more powers, who wants a calm meeting –
    In 2000 researchers at the University of Vienna’s Neurological Clinic examined the response to orange scent in a dentist’s waiting room. The odour had a relaxing effect, mostly on women. Compared to patients not exposed to the scent they had lower anxiety, felt more positive and were calmer.
    Violent criminals in Rotterdam in the Netherlands became less aggressive and had fewer fights when exposed to the scent of oranges, according to a 2008 study.
    During the four-week experiment inmates were calmer and needed fewer sedatives when orange smells were circulated through prison cell air vents.

  2. Meetings… yes, always a reminder to look at the purpose and the time spent in these as they can be informative, stimulating and even great fun (team time) but not effect enough worthwhile results.
    We’ll be looking at our own meetings again for effectiveness. Thank you David.

  3. These days companies have meetings to arrange the next meeting.
    Such a lot of time-wasting and this really brings it home. Thank you.

  4. I agree, it’s not really something that is looked at favourably by staff, just management who think they are doing something important by gathering people around.
    Best to get on with the job rather than sit and talk about what to do.

  5. Never enjoyed chairing meetings where people look like they simply don’t want to be there.

  6. Thank you all – I even know of one organisation who are holding a series of meetings to discuss how to hold less meetings!

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