7 Types of Meetings that Are a Waste of Time

Image of a conference room and the phrase, 7 Types of Meetings that are a Waste of TimeDo you ever wonder if certain meetings are necessary?

Are you tired of spending energy planning and organizing meetings that really shouldn’t be held in the first place?

In this post, I uncover seven common meeting types that really aren’t worth your time.

The “Let’s Meet Because it Seems Like a Good Idea” Meeting

Let’s be realistic: holding a meeting isn’t a good idea in and of itself.

A meeting is an event where you can solve a problem, tackle a challenge, or address otherwise sticky issues and situations.

Yes, the process of organizing a meeting date, time, location, as well as attendees, may seem like work on the surface, but the real work takes place during the meeting itself.

If you cannot define what your goals are for a meeting, you probably shouldn’t hold the meeting in the first place.

The “We’ll Only Review Past/Already Known Information” Meeting

While it’s important to review past or existing information, this shouldn’t be the only information you discuss in a meeting.

In most cases, your focus should be firmly planted in the present and the near future.

After all, you’re meeting with others to review information, discuss items, and come to a conclusion or plan of action.

Rehashing information that is already well-known, or going over decisions that have already been made, with no other goal, is fool hearty.

The “Listen to Me” Meeting

Have you ever attended a meeting where one person takes the floor and talks on for hours and hours? Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Now, this isn’t to say that one person talking is a bad thing, but having that person talk for a long time, with no end in sight, or on subjects that don’t relate at all to the meeting’s goal, can be a real buzz killer.

Unfortunately, this type of meeting is one of those where you really don’t have much say, especially if the person doing the talking is your boss, supervisor, or superior!

You can take care however to recognize the symptoms of a “Listen to Me” meeting, so you can at least prepare yourself mentally, and perhaps attempt to clear your schedule for the rest of your day.

The “I Don’t Actually Have Enough Information to Hold a Meeting” Meeting

This breed of meeting is similar to the “Let’s Meet Because it Seems Like a Good Idea” and “Only Review Past/Already Known Information” meetings.

For some reason or another, someone is itching to hold a meeting, but does not have enough information, data, resources, or testimonials, to make a case of bringing a meeting to order.

It’s almost like having a someone invite you over to their house specifically for some delicious coffee and cake, and when you arrive at their front door, they exclaim they don’t have any coffee, or cake, in the house. Hmm…

To combat this, make sure there is enough information to be reviewed, exchanged, discussed, probed, or debated from the start. If not, you may want to rethink holding that meeting.

The “No Agenda Meeting”

Holding a meeting without an agenda is like….

  • A smart phone without internet connectivity
  • A shoe without a sole
  • A refrigerator without any food

…and so on, and so forth.

It’s time for some tough, yet realistic advice: you need an agenda for your meeting. Period.

An agenda helps you to stay on schedule, and stay on target when it comes to discussing different items during your meeting.

Need help creating an agenda? Check out this post for some helpful tips.

The “Let’s Chat for a Few Minutes” Meeting

“Do you have a few minutes to talk?” This is probably one of the most unrecognized meetings out there. That innocent statement can derail even the tightest schedule.

If you really need to speak with someone, make a point to schedule the meeting for a certain time and date.

You and your meeting invitee will feel better knowing you’ve set aside a specific time to chat, plus the rest of the items on your schedule won’t be threatened by an impromptu conversation.

Image of an eBook with an alarm clock and the phrase, The Order Expert's Guide to Time Management


The Order Expert’s Guide to Time Management is a hands-on workbook that provides practical solutions to common, everyday time management problems.

Click here to learn more about the workbook >> 

The “Let’s Invite Everyone!” Meeting

Meeting attendees should be selected with care. It doesn’t matter if you’re hosting a business meeting, or a meeting of a more personal matter. Not everyone should be invited to every meeting.

Here’s a fun example. Let’s say, you and your friends are organizing a surprise birthday party for your friend, Jill. You’re planning a meeting to discuss the food, decorations, cake, music, and games.

Would you extend an invitation to this planning meeting to Jill? Of course you wouldn’t. Besides being downright silly, there’s no need for you to waste your time, or anyone else’s. It spoils the surprise.

When it comes to holding business meetings, the same concept applies. Should someone actually be invited to a meeting…or not? Does their work relate to the goals at hand? Will they be able to actually contribute to the meeting? Would their talents be better served elsewhere during the meeting?

How about you? Which of these meetings do you find yourself sitting in on a regular basis? Are there any other meeting types you’d like to add to this list. Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.