Invited to a meeting? Be brave enough to say “No!”

This was the opening title in an article in HR magazine online. It went onto say – Global Integration is urging busy executives to save one day per month, beginning by saying ‘no’ to at least two meetings a week, where there is no clear agenda or value.

Take-a-break-take-a-drinkIt struck a chord with me as I worked for many years as a sales and marketing manager in a large corporate company with offices all over the UK. I was often required to attend meetings internally because that’s was the rule. The monthly or sometimes weekly sales meeting became sacrosanct because the manager said so. Often people would have to leave home very early in the morning or the night before to catch planes and drive through numerous traffic jams just to say Hi.

With modern technology (video conferencing) we still seem to like that physical get together. I can appreciate that when you work remotely and you don’t go the office very often, human contact of any kind can seem exciting. But the toll on people’s health due to this unnecessary travel must be calculable, plus the cost of fuel, hotels and lost time in the car.

I often end up seeing the effects of this in our clinics with people stressed and with lower back pain because they’ve had to drive from one end of the country to the other for a 60 minute meeting. I will always tell these tired executives to plan in breaks get out of the car and walk around for 10 minutes otherwise you will turn up at your meeting frazzled and in pain. But how often do we honestly do that when planning any journey of over 120 minutes in a car (unless of course we have young children in the car, when it then becomes a necessity).

So here are some of their tips to staying sane, but also think about breaks and your car seat support

There are six key steps for improved meetings, each of which is covered in the Better Meetings campaign.

  1. Be brave enough to say no
  2. Cut out unnecessary topics
  3. Remove unnecessary participants
  4. Drive meetings from outcomes, not agendas
  5. Improve participation and engagement
  6. Embed change and overcome resistance

This topic is part of the broader subject of employee wellbeing  as part of a corporate wellbeing programme.