Kill that Meeting: Use this Pre-Meeting Audit to make the most out of your time

Richard Bretzger
3 min readJan 26, 2023

Meetings. They’re the bane of our existence. We all know it. We all dread them. But why do they have to be so darn boring? And why do they always seem to take forever? The truth is, meetings can be a real productivity killer. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Let’s be real, meetings are like that one relative who always shows up uninvited to your party. They’re disruptive, they take up too much of our time, and they always seem to happen at the worst possible moment. Just when you’re in the zone, BAM! Meeting time. And it’s not just the meetings themselves that are the problem. It’s the preparation, the follow-up, and the time it takes to get back on track after a meeting. It’s like trying to get back to sleep after a nightmare.

Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash

Sure, meetings are essential for camaraderie and collaboration but can be a productivity and energy drain without the proper planning and expectation setting.

That’s why all internal communication should be asynchronous by default and meetings should be the exception. How can you assess if that exception is needed? And make it useful efficient and time saving?

Here’s a simple exercise to help you audit your meetings:

Make a list of all the meetings you attend or organize.

For each meeting, ask yourself: Could this meeting be an email or slack message instead? Could it be a recorded video message that provides enough context?

Then, define the 4 Ps for each meeting: Purpose, Product, People, and Process.

Purpose: What is the goal of the meeting and how does it align with the company’s OKRs and active projects?
Product: What will attendees be able to do or decide by the end of the meeting?
People: Who should attend the meeting and why are they necessary? What roles do they play before, during, and after the meeting? Who is responsible for what actions?
Process: Share an agenda in advance of the meeting to make the most of synchronous time together. Ensure everyone can participate and contribute information in advance.

Photo by Marissa Grootes on Unsplash

Review your results and ask yourself:

  • If you can’t clearly define the purpose of a meeting, do you really need it?
  • Are there other ways to share information that don’t require a meeting?
  • How much does your meeting cost and are you getting value for your time? (Use this cost calculator to assess the meeting costs: Estimate the Cost of a Meeting with This Calculator)
  • Are there any overlaps in agenda items from one meeting to the next? Can you streamline them?
  • Could you consolidate meetings by changing the attendees? Does the order of your meetings make sense?

Then communicate, cancel, and reschedule the meetings that did not pass your audit. Be explicit with teammates about the purpose of the meeting audit and why you’re making changes. Include the 4 Ps in all meeting invites and documentation.
By taking the time to evaluate your meetings, you’ll be able to reclaim valuable time and focus on what’s truly important.

Say goodbye to pointless meetings and hello to productivity!



Richard Bretzger

Leadership for the Future of Work, New Work and Distributed Work @ prosma consulting