When someone walks up to you and asks for money what would you do? I’m not talking small change for a street musician. Think about a colleague showing up at your desk asking for an amount of money in the order of your commercial hourly rate. Would you give it straight away? Most likely you will ask some questions on how he wants to spend your money and even then you may refuse, right?
But when invited for a meeting, people seems to be less reluctant when spending their time. Many an invitation receives at least a tentative response. Although quite often ill-prepared meetings start with the participants discussing the exact purpose of the meeting. It suggests that time is perceived of lesser value than money. Which seems strange given the fact that money can be earned back while time can only be spend once. Shouldn’t that have impact on perceived value?
A relevant way to assess the added value of meetings is to evaluate Purpose, Preparation and Participants. Purpose can be one of three things:
- generate or assess ideas (e.g. brainstorm),
- take a decision or
- inform Participants
and obviously any combination of the three. Depending on the Purpose of the meeting the requirements for both the Preparations and Participants differ. The quality of both is a good indicator for the value you potentially can bring to or get out of a meeting. So next time do a quick ‘3P-assessment’ while moving a mouse pointer over the text of the invitation towards the Accept, Maybe or Decline button. Improving your decision making process in this area will result in the most precious gift anyone can receive: more time to spend as you choose.
In some cases you will need to reach out to the organizer of the meeting to get more information. Some people hesitate to do that to avoid coming across as critical. I would argue you would seem committed while making an attempt to prepare well for a meeting.