Can You Reduce Your Meeting Load?


Make Meetings Matter Newsletter Series

According to Forbes, employees spend an average of 31 hours per month in meetings (over 4 days!) and 50% of that time is considered wasted. Although meeting ineffectiveness is a widespread problem, it doesn’t have to be if we are intentional about our meeting culture and practices. This is part one of our newsletter series created to help professionals think about the meeting culture they want to instill within their organization and provide strategies to create it.


Do you ever wish you could attend fewer meetings so you could get your actual work done? If so, you’re in good company. Korn Ferry, a top consulting firm, surveyed 1,945 workers and found that 67% say excessive meetings keep them from getting their best work done. If this resonates with you, it may be time to audit your meetings and see which ones you can streamline to get more time back. Reflect on the following to really challenge your role in meetings and see if you can reduce meeting time on your calendar.

What can drive us to attend more meetings than we should? 

  • We feel we should attend a meeting to learn what is happening in the organization
  • The purpose of the meeting has shifted but attendee list hasn’t
  • The purpose of the meeting isn’t clear so everyone seems relevant to the meeting
  • Attending meetings is equated to being valuable
  • We want to get face time with other attendees
  • We may be needed for only one portion of the meeting but find ourselves attending the entire meeting
  • We haven’t challenged ourselves to push decision making down the organization
  • We don’t understand the unintended consequence of too many people in a meeting (more than 7-8 people in meetings that require decision making or issue processing are far less effective)

Knowing these drivers can help the audit process and make sure you are attending the right meetings for the right reasons. The meeting audit worksheet linked below is one tool to evaluate meetings and help limit how many you’re attending. Whether you’re leading or participating, this assessment helps you reflect on your current meeting schedule and streamline the number of meetings where you can

For some, your reaction to this audit might be, “FINALLY. I’ll read the minutes later and save an hour.” For others, you may be hesitant to give up attending, or disappointed to be taken off the invite list. If so, we encourage you to remember the value of working towards fewer attendees, and to think about this: What do you wish you had more time to focus on? Consider this exercise an opportunity to find more time to do just that.

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