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Why you don’t need to go to the meeting

Leanne Fowler, director of strategic meetings management, NYS reveals how you can host meetings differently.

Millions of people travel for business meetings every week and in doing so generate significant amounts of carbon emissions. As businesses work to become more sustainable and minimise their impact on the planet, staff need to assess how many of the meetings that they attend are effective for everyone involved and what the alternatives might be.

 Although most meetings remain important for those in attendance, in our recent survey, we found 36% of people only attended a meeting because they were told to.

Similarly, 24% of people admitted the meeting they attended could have been held virtually and an additional 27% said they arrived only to find out they didn’t need to be at the meeting at all and therefore unlikely to be delivering smart results.

But what is the answer?

With up to 50% of your working life spent in meetings we should be asking ourselves “how can we connect with those people differently?”

As meeting experts, our aim is to support organisations to change booking behaviours, in order to make our customers’ meetings more valuable - even if that means the meeting not taking place at all or challenging the most effective ways to collaborate.

This can include creating a virtual meetings culture or empowering staff to push back against unnecessary meetings.

You can also engage with stakeholders before, during and after the meeting. By setting a meeting agenda, participants know that there is a legitimate business purpose for the meeting, with specific issues to be discussed and outcomes to be achieved. Without one, meetings often become unfocussed and unproductive.

This is the start of a new decade, which can bring about new ways of connecting and meeting smarter, so we spend our precious time better.