Too Many Meetings: How to Reduce Meeting Bloat

Day after day you are participating in Zoom Marathons.

We’ve all been there.


But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

In this post, we will talk about how to reduce the meeting frequency in any team.

Eric Schmidt’s 8 Rules for Meeting Success

When business practitioners are faced with an operational problem they frequently ask: “What would Google do?”

We don’t see WWGD bumper stickers yet, but we’re getting close.

Google has been following a simple set of rules established by Eric Schmidt.

The goal was to make meetings more efficient.


But what to do if the meeting is redundant in the first place?

Reducing Meeting Bloat

In a recent blog post we wrote about three simple tactics to tackle meeting bloat:

This was our concrete recommendation:

#1: Identify the Largest Time Sinks
  • Talk to your team and identify which meetings are too long → shorten those
  • Talk to your team and identify which meetings are happening too frequently → reduce their cadence
  • Talk to your team and identify which meetings are redundant → cut those or reduce the participant list

To make this more actionable we’ll add a set of prompts for each of these tactics:

🥱 Meetings Are Too Long


  • Can we achieve this in half the time?
  • Can we achieve this in 5 minutes?
  • What is taking so long?
  • What could the team members be doing instead with their time?
  • Can we discuss this in writing?

🙄 Meetings Are Happening Too Frequently


  • Can we have this meeting monthly instead?
  • Can we bundle this discussion into another meeting?
  • Can we discuss this in writing?

😡 Meetings Are Redundant


  • Can we do this without a meeting?
  • Can we discuss this in writing (email; chat; documentation)?
  • Can we permanently cancel this meeting?

Best Practice:

GitLab is doing regular reviews of unnecessary meetings.

Recurring meetings are oftentimes established as meaningful points along a given journey. Don't hesitate to cancel them after their purpose has been served. Canceling meetings isn't a slight to those on the invite list. In fact, ridding multiple calendars of a meeting should be celebrated and conjure a sense of liberation.

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