A lot of people think meetings are a huge waste of time. And they can be … if you let them be.

The pessimists view of meetings:

”The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.”
~ Thomas Sowell

However, meetings can also be very productive. In fact, meetings should be productive. Otherwise you should find another way to spend your most valuable asset … your time.

When was the last time you were really looking forward to a meeting? I mean really looking forward to it?

Did you spend time:

  • Thinking about it
  • Preparing for it … and
  • Envisioning the Outcome?

For every meeting?

If you value your time then you should be Thinking, Preparing and Envisioning before EVERY meeting. Otherwise, why not skip or cancel the meeting and work on something that is a better value for your most precious asset…Time.

Does it take a lot of time? Yes.

What’s the alternative?

  • Do nothing?
  • Not prepare?
  • Not think about potential outcomes?

Perhaps Ben Franklin said it best:

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

No matter what you do for your career you can take control of your meetings by planning to spend the time it takes to prepare for them. If you don’t have the time to prepare or don’t value the outcomes … perhaps you should not have the meeting.

Millenial Tip: If you are early in your career you can learn and apply skills now for Thinking, Preparing and Envisioning. These skills can be used as you interview and start to build your reputation. People that can run effective meetings are in short supply. Be one of them.

An optimists view on meetings:

There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.” ~ Sushan R Sharma

What if you are the only one that has taken the time to prepare?

It happens. You can’t let yourself get bogged down by someone else’s lack of preparation. You don’t need to cast aspersions on them or otherwise make any assumptions about their motives or intent. Just do your homework and make sure you are prepared.

Do yourself and your career a favor

Make the time and take the time to do the work. Think, Prepare and Envision for your next meeting. You’ll be happy you did.

And remember: Meetings can be productive … if you let them be.


Jeff  is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.