Take pride in ending meetings early

Last week, I realized that I feel like a failure when a meeting of mine ends early. “I should have prepared more topics! I should have asked spicier discussion questions! I have failed!”

This is nonsense, of course. Meetings are expensive. The goal is shorter meetings, not longer ones. I knew that. I’ve even coached people on that.

But when a company email went around telling everyone to take pride in ending meetings early, it dawned on me that I’m a hypocrite. Subconsciously, I’ve always felt like I needed to fill the time. A shortened meeting was a source of embarrassment for me, not pride.

I want to change that. Here’s how it used to go down:

  • Trigger point: the engagement level of the meeting is slowing down
  • Emotion: fear, embarrassment
  • Thought: “oh no, it’s sinking!”
  • Habitual response: bring up a new topic or ask a tasty discussion question

And here’s how I want it to go down from now on:

I’ll make sure I have a goal for every meeting. Once that goal is achieved, then I’ll take waning engagement as a sign that it’s time to get outta there.

My quest to take pride in ending meetings early starts now!

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