It is in everyone’s interests to only attend meetings where your presence has value


In the past few months, I’ve noticed that my manager has requested my attendance at more and more meetings. I’m rarely called on to share feedback or suggestions, but it does happen, so I can’t tune out entirely and do something else. I feel like these meetings are a waste of my time. How can I best convey this to my manager and convince him that my presence is unnecessary?


Kadine Cooper, executive coach, consultant and facilitator, Toronto

What happens when meetings start to feel like a drain on productivity rather than a catalyst for progress? I understand the importance of optimizing time and resources, especially when it comes to team meetings. But, if you feel more like a “nodding head,” your presence in meetings may be unnecessary, here are some strategies to effectively address your concerns and navigate meeting fatigue.

Assess the situation: Before taking any action, it’s essential to assess the context and objectives of the meetings you’ve been attending. Consider the frequency, purpose and level of your involvement in these meetings. Are there clear goals and agendas outlined for each meeting? Are you actively contributing to the discussions or do you find yourself being a passive participant? Understanding these dynamics will provide valuable insights into how to approach the situation with your manager.

Initiate the conversation: When addressing concerns with your manager, approach the conversation with professionalism and diplomacy. Express appreciation for the opportunities to participate in meetings and contribute to the team’s efforts, while also sharing your observations regarding the frequency of these meetings and your perceived level of involvement. Provide specific examples or instances where you feel that your presence may not have been essential to achieving the meeting’s objectives.

Propose solutions: Rather than simply expressing dissatisfaction with the current situation, consider proposing alternative solutions or approaches that may address your concerns while still supporting the team’s goals and objectives. This could include exploring options for streamlining meeting agendas, optimizing attendance lists or leveraging technology to facilitate communication and collaboration more efficiently. By offering constructive suggestions, you demonstrate a pro-active approach to problem-solving and signal your commitment to finding mutually beneficial solutions.

Don’t let meetings and emails dominate. Make more time for creation, learning and ideation


Judit Lovas, career coach, Judit Lovas Coaching and Consulting, St. John’s

We’ve all had this thought at some point in our career: we’re sitting in a meeting, trying to focus, only being able to think: “What am I doing here?”

Sometimes, feeling that a meeting is a waste of time, or rather a large unproductive chunk of your time, is normal. However, when this situation occurs frequently, it can have negative consequences on our work, productivity and overall morale in the workplace. In cases like this, I believe that open and honest communication is the best way to go.

First, ask about your manager’s motivation for why you have to sit in on these meetings. Sometimes, they may have a valid, yet not-so-obvious reason.

Second, you can also include some concrete examples from past meetings where you felt that you couldn’t contribute anything valuable and how you felt it to be a loss of productive time.

Finally, you could bring up the Pareto principle, which states that in most cases, 80 per cent of our results come from 20 per cent of our efforts, and you would like to be selective of your efforts when it comes to that 20 per cent.

Try to shift the conversation to highlight that you are actively looking for ways to be more productive, not simply the fact that the meetings feel like a waste of time. Addressing a situation like this with a manager might seem intimidating, but remember that it’s in both of your best interests to only attend a meeting where your presence has added value.

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