Too Many Meetings: How To Be More Efficient As A Team


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Studies clearly show that we currently have a meeting problem. We spend too much time in meetings, and the actual work suffers. The more participants a meeting has, the more the problem affects the performance of the entire company.

But why do we have so many meetings in the first place? We have identified 5 core problems, which we would like to explain in more detail in this article.

The 5 core problems why you have too many meetings in your team

Problem 1: No Rules for Meetings

Too many meetings in a company or team are usually not the root cause, but rather a direct result of several problems. We often see that companies have no established rules for meetings. Meetings are accepted as standard communication, and sometimes even managers are allowed to randomly schedule meetings with their team.

If you, as a manager or entrepreneur, want to address the problem of too many meetings, you should start at the top level in step one. Only when everyone is on board can real change happen.

How can you proceed?

At the beginning, we recommend that each team member should track their weekly time spent in meetings. This provides a good insight into the actual time spent in meetings per week.

Afterwards, you can jointly consider which rules could be established in the company to reduce the number of meetings.

Problem 2: No asynchronous Communication in your Team

In team communication, a distinction is made between asynchronous and synchronous communication. Simplified, synchronous communication in our case corresponds to live meetings, and asynchronous communication can be an email, a Slack message, or a note on your colleague’s desk, for example. Asynchronous communication involves a time difference between sending and receiving the message, and each individual can decide when to read a message or respond to it.

Both types of communication have their advantages and disadvantages. For more emotional topics or important decisions, it is recommended to use synchronous communication.

In our view, there are two camps in today’s world: the Async advocates who want to do away with all meetings and solve everything through Slack, Asana, Trello, or Jira. On the other hand, there are old-fashioned managers who call someone or initiate a meeting for every little thing.

We believe that the best way of communication lies exactly in the middle. In our philosophy, meetings should consist of an asynchronous and a synchronous part.

We differentiate between:

  • FYI
  • Talking Points
  • Check-ins

FYI points on the agenda are handled exclusively asynchronously. They serve to inform team members about a specific event or situation and do not need to be mentioned verbally in the live meeting.

Check-ins can be handled asynchronously and synchronously. For less complex topics (e.g., deciding whether Text A or B is better suited for the next advertising campaign), a short, organized written exchange may suffice. For important decisions, synchronous communication should be preferred.

Complex talking points are discussed synchronously.

However, a written preparation of check-in or talking points ensures that synchronous communication runs much more efficiently and that each participant has intensely engaged with the topic beforehand.

Problem 3: No Meeting Preparation

Be honest: how much time do you typically spend preparing for a meeting? Probably rarely more than 10–15 minutes. This is also one of the reasons why there are too many meetings in your team or company. Either, as described in point 1, you have no rules for meetings yet, or the rules you have do not include preparation.

Unprepared meetings mean that participants waste unnecessary time trying to structure the meeting.

No meeting agenda?

Oh, what were we supposed to talk about today?

We need to make an important decision?

Oh, has everyone familiarized themselves with the facts so that we can make a good decision?

In our view, there are three levels at which meetings should be prepared:

Level 1: No meeting preparation.

As just described, this is the worst way to hold a meeting. Time is wasted unnecessarily searching for topics and current bottlenecks. Decisions are often delayed because participants have not properly familiarized themselves with the topic.

Level 2: Simple meeting agenda

You are probably at this level with your team or company. You are aware that meetings need an agenda, which is why, as a leader, you send an agenda to all participants a few hours before the meeting – for example, via Slack, Microsoft Teams, or classically by email.

Congratulations, because you have already recognized a big problem with inefficient meetings. However, there is still a better way to prepare for meetings thoroughly. We describe this in Level 3.

Level 3: Collaborative meeting agenda

This level is the highest art of meeting practice. By not simply sending the agenda to the participants as described in Level 2, but also asking them to actively contribute to the meeting agenda, you ensure that each participant has intensely engaged with the day’s topics.

Furthermore, you ensure that smaller agenda items or less complex problems can be solved before the actual meeting. This saves time and reduces the topics of conversation in the live meeting.

Problem 4: No Meeting Automation

Chances are, you already have numerous useful tools in place in your company or team that make your workday easier. Perhaps you have also worked with automations that help you structure processes or ensure that they are carried out correctly by your employees or teams.

But do you also have automations that help you with your meetings?

By that, I don’t mean artificial intelligence that may create even more work for you through meeting transcripts, but really useful automations that ensure meetings are more efficient.

What might such automations look like?

A great example is read receipts. When you create agenda items that are only intended as “FYI,” you may not want to mention them verbally in the next live meeting to save time. However, you still want to ensure that everyone on the team has seen these “FYI items.” This is where an automation comes in that ensures that only those points are displayed in the live meeting that have not been marked as read by all participants.

We mentioned the collaborative meeting agenda earlier. Here, too, automations can be very useful. You can ensure that each participant submits their written comments before the next meeting on time.

In addition, you can use automations to automatically reschedule topics that have not been fully addressed to the next appointment – a very useful feature for recurring team meetings.

Problem 5: Poor information flow & lack of information

We’ve already listed the main reasons for too many meetings. However, there are other factors at a higher level that can contribute to the meeting mania.

As a leader, you should try to find out why people are calling meetings. From our experience, one reason for many unnecessary meetings is a lack of information. To prevent this problem, you should ensure that important information can be accessed at any time.

We mainly rely on central information storage, such as a company wiki, to address this problem. You can also use such a company wiki for your meetings.


Having too many meetings has been shown to have a negative impact on team performance. They can also be tiring and distract your team members from the really important work. At the same time, meetings are a useful and necessary concept without which a company cannot function. In our article, we have provided you with some effective strategies to reduce the number of meetings in your company. If you want to learn more about our philosophy, you can find more information on our website ZipDo.


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