Limiting Attendance at Meetings

One of the best rules for meetings is to only invite people who need to be there. Keep the meeting attendance as low as possible is the most efficient use of everyone's time.

But what do you do when someone asks to be invited who you know doesn't need to be there? This situation came up for me recently and I admit to being a bit perplexed. Most people I know are begging to get out of meetings. Yet here was someone basically asking to come to a meeting that they didn't need to be at.

Full disclosure, I invited the person. However, now as I reflect, I think I would do things differently.

First, I would ask why the person wants to be there. It could be that they didn't understand the purpose and goal of the meeting. It could even be that they have some expertise or insight that I hadn't thought about. The key would be to find out the intention of asking for the invite.

Second, I would refocus on the goal of the meeting. Based on the desired outcome, can this person add value?

Third, I would ask if being at the meeting is important or could I just send them the meetings notes and summary afterwards. If they simply want to be informed, this might be all they need.

The one thing to watch out for is the person who wants to be there for facetime. They know who is going to be in the meeting and want to be seen by that person. That is simply grandstanding, not efficiency. Don't give in to that.