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Mindful Meetings

4 Reasons to Meet


What do you think of when you hear the word “meeting?” What emotions does that word evoke? Most people are filled with dread, frustration, boredom - and that’s because 71% of people consider the meetings they attend as unproductive. This is problematic because employees spend an average of 31 hours per week in those meetings. This wastes valuable time and money. So what can we do about it? 

Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, has said that “there are four reasons to meet: to decide, learn, bond, and do. If it doesn’t serve one of those purposes, cancel it.” The bottom line - your meeting should have a purpose. Are you having a meeting to actually accomplish something in these four realms?


To Decide

This one could be tricky - over 55% of people become frustrated with a meeting if they feel the information could have been relayed just the same in an email. So, this isn’t just a quick question, it’s a decision that has to be made through some careful thought, deliberation, collaboration, etc. To make these decisions even more effectively, there are a few factors to consider.

  1. Do you have all of the necessary information?
    • It’s time-wasting to head into a meeting unprepared. If attendees are waiting on you to gather yourself, materials, or information, that’s time they could’ve been spending on other tasks. Make sure you and your attendees are prepared to get down to business.
  2. Do you have the right people? Is there someone there that doesn’t really need to be?
    • Even if it’s important for them to know the outcome of the meeting, do they need to take part in the actual decision making? On the flip side, is there someone missing that needs to be there? Does the decision making rely on their expertise or leverage? 


To Learn

This realm could function for a few things. Is there a new protocol, process, program, etc. that needs to be explained? Has there been a change in the organization and everyone needs to be made aware? This would be especially important if the intent is to allow for questions or further training. This kind of meeting could function as whole team, whole department or whole organization training, such as for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. 

This could also be a 1:1 with a new hire, and onboarding is easier when you can meet and go over things. It’s also a great time to provide constructive feedback - you don’t want to relay this information around other people, but it isn’t really appropriate over email either. Teaching moments are better spent in a comfortable environment in real time, so setting up a 1:1 can be great for that! 


To Bond

Studies have found that 2020 was the year that 1:1 meetings increased by 18% and the amount of team socialization meetings grew by 10%. The likely culprit for this is the pandemic when socialization needs grew, and that doesn’t have to stop. If you’ve found that you and the people you meet with enjoy the time to get to know each other and build relationships, by all means keep it going! 

The workforce is noticing that working remotely can work just as well if not better for some, so they’d still like to work from home; however, workplace relationships don’t have to suffer. These meetings have a great effect on morale and retention for individuals, as well as coworker relationships. You wouldn’t have to call this a “meeting” either, this can be optional and known as virtual happy hour for your team! 


To Do

This realm is helpful when there is a task that requires in the moment conversation, contribution, collaboration, or more than one set of eyes or hands. It can be really handy to set up a time blocked on everyone’s calendar and call it a meeting. Or, maybe this is a meeting with clients or stakeholders that must happen for the project to move forward. Do they need to “give the okay” on a specific aspect that is easier to show or explain in real time? Meeting in a way like that also helps build the connection and relationship with those clients and stakeholders. 

These are the meetings that follow the words “We need to do this together.” This kind of meeting doesn’t have to be discussing every detail - it provides the opportunity to work with a person or a group of people to accomplish a task. You’ve had the meeting already to decide what needs to happen, now what do you actually need to do, and how can you use this time to accomplish it? 


Meetings don’t have to be the subject of dread or frustration - as long as they have a purpose and the time is being used deliberately! Think of these 4 realms when it comes time to schedule your next meeting, and let us know how it goes! 




Topics: Time Management, Sinikka Waugh, Meeting Management & Facilitation

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! contactus@yourclearnextstep.com








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