How to Know When You Have Too Many Meetings

Recognize when you have too many meetings and how to manage them effectively with these tips.

Shiva Prabhakaran

Shiva Prabhakaran

Marketing Expert at Routine
Published on


Meetings are essential to more or less every organization ranging from startups with fewer than ten employees to transnational companies with thousands of employees.

Meetings are an effective way to create a synergy of ideas and opinions to arrive at a feasible outcome. However, sometimes you can end up having too many meetings that hurt your company/team's productivity.

So in this post, we will look at how to diagnose if you have too many meetings and ways to manage them.

Do you have too many meetings?

While the lingering feeling of a meeting being avoidable is evident to participants, figuring out if there is a pattern of useless meetings is a different ball game altogether.

Choosing the right meeting cadence for your team can make or break an organization's productivity.

Here are some symptoms that might indicate that you have the "too many meetings" pattern:

  1. Low level of productivity from your team.

  2. Low enthusiasm to attend or contribute to a meeting.

  3. Meetings end without a clear path forward.

  4. There is little follow-up on the items discussed in the meeting.

If you constantly get out of meetings with one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, there is likely a problem.

So what can you do about it? A lot, actually.

Solving the "too many meetings" problem

Here are some ways to reduce the number of unnecessary meetings plaguing your organization:

Have no meeting days/hours

There must be periods that others on your team can't infringe upon, and your employees can use these time slots to engage in deep work because they know they won't be called in for something.

You could choose a daily approach where no meetings are allowed on certain days, or you could block out certain parts of the day where your team feels more productive and doesn't want to be disturbed by meetings.

Make a clear agenda a requirement

One of the fundamental requirements of someone scheduling a meeting should be a clearly defined plan/agenda that validates a need for the meeting.

Meetings without an agenda are unproductive and don't allow any room for participants to prepare for the meeting ahead of time.

A clear agenda will also help assess the invitee list so that the ones whose presence is not a requirement can be removed from the list.

Encourage usage of asynchronous tools

The need for face-to-face communication dramatically reduces when you have access to good asynchronous tools. And to encourage asynchronous communication, their utility has to be clearly communicated to the team.

You can start by defining what validates a meeting, and for everything else, the default mode of communication has to be an asynchronous tool. In cases where such a tool can not do justice, then a meeting can be considered.

You can even consider tools like Loom instead of a walkthrough meeting, Figma comments instead of a design meeting, Google Docs suggestion feature instead of a meeting for copy editing, and so on.

Make attendance optional for low-priority attendees

If someone's presence is a marginal value add to the meeting but not absolutely necessary, then consider making their attendance optional.

This will force you to select participants for the meeting very selectively, and those whose attendance is optional can look to attend the meeting if they are motivated enough to contribute to it. Nothing is worse at the start of a workday than getting dragged to a meeting that you don't want to attend or think you can contribute to.

Make meetings shorter

A meeting that is longer for the sake of it is never good and can deter participants from contributing during the meeting and also keep them demotivated from attending future meets.

So keep the meeting short enough that all the participants are on their toes and do not waste each other's time with fluff or unnecessary clarifications.

Also, schedule meetings when your team is best prepared for it, not randomly. A 15-minute meeting with a team that is motivated to contribute is better than a 30-minute meeting where everyone just wants to go home.

So there you go! Does your organization have too many meetings? Which of the tips mentioned above do you most agree with? Let us know on Twitter @RoutineHQ.

Also, do you have topics you would like us to cover? Let us know about that too on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

Routine Logo

Try Routine today

Sign up and get started for free.

Get Started