Meetings are Too Big Too Frequent and Too Long

Nearly 7 in 10 complain meetings distract from work.*

Meetings are good when…

  1. You’re disappointed they’re over.
  2. You learn, strengthen connections, gain useful information, participate in decisions.

How many meetings are too big, too frequent, and too long? One person said, “All of them.”

Meetings are good when you're disappointed they're over. Image of a child pouting.

Meetings are:

Too big:

  1. Make a ‘no passive observer’ rule. Monitor participation. People who don’t actively participate don’t need to attend (Or you need to encourage their participation).
  2. Eliminate the assumption that everyone needs to attend all meetings.
  3. Eliminate the assumption that the same people attend the same meetings.
  4. Disinvite higher ups unless you need their sign off. Send a brief report instead.
  5. Include people close to the work.

Tip: Make the two-pizza rule. You should be able to feed everyone in the room with two medium pizzas.

Too frequent:

  1. Will work continue smoothly without meeting? If you have a weekly department meeting, skip a week. If you have a monthly department meeting, push it back two weeks.
  2. Consider the time people dedicate to preparing for meetings.
  3. Use alternative methods to communicate. Will an update email work?
  4. Evaluate quarterly. Ask the team what would happen if you stopped having this meeting?
  5. Make back-to-back meetings illegal!
If you want people to respect your leadership, run meetings high performers love to attend. Image of a giraffe.

Too long:

  1. Shorten 60-minute meetings to 50 minutes and 30-minute meetings to 25 minutes.
  2. Train meeting facilitators. Who made the rule that the most important person in the room runs the meeting? A little humility serves teams well.
  3. Divide work between small taskforce groups and report at the end of the meeting.
  4. Guide participation:
    • Begin with conclusions. offer explainations after.
    • Complete this sentence: The two biggest obstacles to this project are…
    • Complete this sentence: The best way to move this forward in my view is…
    • Fill in this sentence: I will have _______ done by the end of the week.
  5. Determine the outcome and keep people on topic!

What’s one thing that would make the meetings you attend better?

Which of the above suggestions could you try?

5 Simple Ways to Improve Meetings

*Working or Wasting Time (Korn Ferry)

Preorder The Vagrant here:


Barnes & Noble