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The simple art of Stop it!

Forty-two percent of the people who have completed the Better Meeting Assessment say they hope improving their meetings will lead to less of them. The focus of this book is on better, not fewer meetings. Although most people say their meetings are shorter, I can’t promise you will have fewer meetings after applying what you learn here, but I do think fewer is better.

Bob Newhart, the American comedian, has a hilarious sketch where he plays a therapist who promises to cure a patient’s phobias immediately. He does this by abruptly shouting ‘stop it!’ as she describes her symptoms.   

I would like you to remember that advice when you are on your way to a meeting you don’t need to attend. Stop it! Turn around and use that hour for something else. When you catch yourself completing work that does not relate to the meeting you are in, stop it! Either pay attention, help the group be at their best or disinvite yourself.

Write a list of all the meetings you attend each week. Give each meeting a score between 1 (do not need to be there) and 5 (must attend). Any meetings that score a 1 or 2… stop it! Take them out of your diary. You will be surprised how many meetings fall into this category. Consider carefully the meetings that score a 3 or 4. Is there another way you could approach these meetings? What happens when you are on leave, do these meetings stop? If you cannot entirely justify being there, then you should… stop it!

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