Meetings: Meetings are purposeful, planned, structured and facilitated to add value to participants and provide maximum impact to the organization.

When NOT to Attend a Meeting

Opt In And Out Keys Showing Decision To SubscribeA lot has been written about when not to schedule a meeting and what to include in an effective meeting, but little about how to discern if you should even attend a meeting in the first place .

Usually there is a good reason you were invited, at least in the mind of those calling the meeting. But, especially with regularly scheduled meetings your presence can become routine rather than strategic.

Next level leaders must develop the discipline of thinking critically about how they allocate their time. A good place to begin is with meetings, the biggest time drainers yet potentially the most catalytic use of a leader’s time.

Use the following criteria to filter and vet the meetings you are asked to attend, and rigorously apply the suggested alternatives and you will become significantly more strategic in your approach to meeting participation.

Is my Input required? If so can I……

  • Provide my input in writing?
  • Ask someone else attending the meeting to communicate my input?
  • Front load the agenda with the strategic and mission critical items to be discussed and then leave?

Is my Influence required? If so can I……..

  • Start the meeting with a charge, the purpose, an equipping time, prayer and then leave?
  • Come in at the end of the meeting and hear a recap and respond?
  • Suggest an alternative to calling a meeting?

Is my Facilitation required? If so can I…….

  • Train and empower someone to facilitate the meeting?
  • Put together the meeting agenda and participant list for the assigned facilitator?
  • Ask the group to elect/designate a facilitator?

Is my Listening required? If so can I……….

  • Designate someone to verbally “debrief” the meeting with me afterwards?
  • Designate someone to take meeting minutes including conclusions, recommendations and assigned action steps for my review?
  • Have the meetings recorded for listening as my time and schedule permits?

Does my Presence undermine the chain of command? If so can I……

  • Refer and defer to a supervisor?
  • Coach the supervisor on talking points prior to the meeting?
  • Arrange to receive verbal feedback from the supervisor after the meeting?

Posted on February 9, 2016

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5