As an IT leader, you probably feel like you’re in meetings all day. That’s because you often are! Managers spend 35-50% of their time in meetings, and almost 70% of them think that the meeting wasn’t a successful event.

While meetings can be frustrating, they can be very advantageous to your organization – and YOU. They can increase productivity and allow efficient communication and decision making. But not all meetings are created equal! You may not need to be in as many meetings as you think. Here’s how to re-think the meeting cycle:

Have you maximized control of your schedule?

Make sure to use your calendar software to input your own schedule first, as far out in advance as you can, whenever possible. Consider blocking out times for project work or phone calls, and not just other appointments or meetings. This way, when colleagues are searching for times available on the calendar, you’re already committed for the activities and appointments that are most important to you.

Are you a key player at this meeting?

When you’re a leader, you often have to run the meeting – or you have to speak, if only briefly, at the event. But if you’re not running the meeting, maybe you don’t really need to be there. However, keep in mind that a meeting is a great place to show your team and fellow management your leadership ability, and that kind of exposure is invaluable.

What are the priorities?

Do you really have something more important to do, or are you just tired of attending meetings? If there’s an urgent situation, a project that needs your attention, or a deadline creeping up that’s a higher priority – then perhaps you shouldn’t go. But consider other options too, such as delegating the work to someone else, so that you can attend the meeting. Remember, as a leader, sometimes our priority IS the meeting.

Are there creative alternatives?

Be creative to come up with new solutions. For example, maybe you can get notes on the meeting from someone else who will be there. Or, talk to the person leading the meeting and tell them what’s happening, maybe they will agree with you that you don’t really need to be there. Or, if there’s some reason you do need to attend, perhaps the meeting organizer can cover what you need at the beginning of meeting, so that you can step out early.

Can you make it more efficient?

If you’re leading the meeting, then you have the power to make it more meaningful, productive, or even shorter. Determine the purpose of the meeting, and set the agenda. Make sure anyone who’s participating or speaking during the meeting is prepared in advance. Leverage your time by communicating anything that the entire team needs to hear. Listen and lead with focus and direction to your purpose to move things along so that you can conclude with progress and decisions made.

Do you have a clear intent?

Even if you’re not leading the meeting, you can walk in with your own personal goal for attending. Whether it’s to make an announcement, learn something new, or help make decisions, be clear on the reason you are attending the meeting. If nothing else, help the meeting organizer with thoughtful questions that encourage reflection, collaboration, or refocus back on the agenda.

Remember that meetings can increase productivity and accountability, so make the most of the ones you attend. At the same time, start questioning whether you really need to schedule or go to that next meeting!

And if you’re looking for more IT contractors but don’t have time to sift through the resumes between all those meetings, call ProFocus today! We understand the technology roles you need help with, and can help get the right team in place to be more proficient in and out of those meetings.