When you have a meeting to attend, and then you find out it’s been canceled, how do you normally feel? If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a fair share of times where you’ve breathed a sigh of relief.
But why is that? Why are we relieved when some meetings get rescheduled?
One reason we may be relieved is we currently have too much on our plate. Perhaps we’d like to attend, but there are other deadlines or time demands, and having one less thing to do is a welcome occurrence.
But other times the reason we’re relieved has nothing to do with our schedule. The issue isn’t with juggling the other things we’re already doing, but with the meeting itself. Maybe we know from past experience that we’ll gain little value from it, and we don’t want to waste our time.
Knowing the reason why we feel glad when a meeting is rescheduled is valuable to determine. Is the feeling due solely to this week’s other time demands? Or would we feel the same way regardless of when the meeting is scheduled?
Put another way, If this meeting were to never happen (again), would it be missed?
Because if the issue is inherent to the meeting, and everyone is relieved when it gets moved, something needs to change. To start, is the meeting even necessary? Or if it is, are people being pulled into it that don’t actually need to be there? Is there a known purpose, proper expectations, and clear agenda?
Meetings have their place. But they can also easily turn into something that people begrudge being a part of. Especially when the perceived (and experienced) value of the meeting is less than other things we could be doing.
So, if you’re putting on a meeting, make sure that there’s a clear purpose, and that it’s a valuable use of time for everyone involved.
And if you’re the one required to attend meetings that are providing little value, maybe it’s time to talk to the organizer to see if there are any adjustments that can be made.
Time is our most precious commodity. So pushing for changes to help us better use the time we have is something that all of us–meeting organizers and attenders alike–should be able to agree on.