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How many meetings are too many?

Meeting the New Norm 💫

The ideal number of meetings is debated among many companies and organizations. How does a team efficiently and effectively achieve and exceed its goals when calendars are inundated with meetings? What happens when, ironically, having these meetings are crucial for a team’s success?

How many meetings are too many meetings?

When most of the world was back in a more physical work setting, we still struggled with having too many meetings in the workplace. This is especially relevant to strategists, managers and other members whose work transcends multiple departments. These individuals, among many others, are still struggling with this dilemma in the “new normal” virtual playing field.

A 10-minute impromptu chat in your colleague’s cabin is now a Slack message and a 30-minute calendar block later in the day. Professionals have less liberty in fluid conversations, compromised by the times. This exacerbates the already existing issue from the “old normal” and, in fact, hampers productivity.

But are these meetings effective? Are they even needed? We may be so programmed now that booking time with a colleague in place of tapping them on the shoulder may be a bad habit, rather than a necessary evil.

When We Don’t Need Meetings 👇

Is It An Emergency? 😲

If a highly urgent meeting is absolutely necessary, definitely have one; however, this depends on what we consider an “emergency”. If a major competitor has unexpectedly compromised an entire division or product line’s revenue stream, and quick solutions can help your team get ahead again, your team should definitely meet. But, when something minor happens out of the team’s control, can an email suffice?

Is It a “One-Sided” Conversation? 🗣

Are you aiming to communicate a new initiative? If you believe the number of questions that follows a presentation can be answered via a communication tool, do you really need to book everyone’s time? This can be challenging to assess, but try to think ahead to see if you can save some time.

A Minor Issue? 😅

If the meeting is to discuss an issue that doesn’t even need to be communicated altogether, do you need to host a meeting? What if the issue is a simple mistake that does not compromise the strategic direction of the team’s goals? If communication is needed, can you spend 4-5 minutes using your team’s preferred chat tool?

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen 👩🏾‍🍳

Besides questioning if a meeting is needed, one can also question if participation is required. If your team members can cover for you, share notes or are more fitting to be in the meeting than you would be, you probably can save your time and be productive by tackling other priorities. This also depends on trust, communication, skills and responsibility.

The Criteria to Have or Participate in a Meeting 📝

With the aforementioned examples, you can use the following as criteria as a checklist to evaluate if a meeting has to be organized or participated in:

  • Time

  • Need for Feedback

  • Strategic Importance

  • Issue/Priority/Task/Project Complexity

  • Communication Channel Alternatives

  • Role & Responsibilities

  • Efficiency

The Verdict 👩🏿‍⚖️

It’s understandable that sometimes, meetings need to be held in order to effectively work, but when a meeting is not needed, you can always over-communicate via multiple channels to ensure a message is well relayed. Reducing meetings can be challenging for individuals who thrive on oral communication, but with 24 hours in a day to accomplish 24 priorities, one must be efficient with their time. Have an honest conversation with yourself (don’t book a meeting for that 😉) and consider the Meeting Checklist above to be more efficient with your time.


About the Author:

Nick brings forward a mixed skill set of web product management, business development, digital marketing and business strategy, built from both the Halifax tech ecosystem and the agency space. From leading content strategy and business development tactics to optimizing user and web search experience, Nick is a jack of many trades.

As a digital product manager, Nick is enthused to be IABC Maritime’s Director of Web Strategy, refining and running many of the IABC Maritime’s website’s communications.


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