Monday 15th April 2024
How to Decide Who Should Attend Your Meeting?

Meetings often get a bad reputation. Many consider them time-wasting and unproductive. Numerous memes, jokes, and cartoons depict the pointless ramble of the typical meeting, usually summed up by the punchline, “Couldn’t this have been put in an email?”  

Research from HBR shows that meeting frequency and length have significantly increased over the past 50 years. Today, executives spend an average of 23 hours a week in meetings — a massive increase from the 1960s when the average weekly total was only 10 hours.  

That leaves the question of whether all those meetings are productive or just taking up space on employee calendars. For a meeting to be successful, it needs to be properly managed and organized. To guarantee this, ask yourself the following questions: 


  • Do we need a meeting? 
  • Who should we invite? 
  • What should the length of the meeting be? 
  • What are the conference room requirements for this meeting? 
  • How do I successfully incorporate global attendees? 
  • What worktech is the best meeting room solution? 

Inviting the right people 

Inviting the right people to the right meeting seems simple. However, this critical component of a meeting is often rushed and overlooked. Getting the correct people in the room — in the office or virtually — is the foundation for a successful and productive meeting.  

As a side note, we also need to empower employees to decline meetings when it’s not necessary for them to attend.  

We know it’s not rocket science, but there is a formula for inviting the right people to the right meeting. Who do you need versus who do you want, and what value will they offer to get your desired output?   

need v want + value = output

Who do you need in a meeting? 

Need: “Require (something) because it is essential or very important rather than just desirable.” – Oxford Dictionary  

Who do you need in your meeting to make it productive? Consider who is relevant to the meeting’s topic and whether they can contribute to your discussions. Invite everyone essential to the meeting but be careful not to go overboard with sending invites just for the sake of it — especially to senior management. 


Who do you want in a meeting? 

Want: “Have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for.” – Oxford Dictionary  

Sure, you may want them at your meeting, but are they vital to the success of the meeting’s output? Invite those employees as optional, but they still need to offer help and relevancy to your set agenda. If it’s a creative meeting or brainstorming, you’ll want to invite some of the brighter sparks and those known for their innovative ideas. 


What value will those individuals offer? 

Value: “The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” – Oxford Dictionary  

How much value are the individuals going to bring to the desired output? Are they able to contribute and offer value and insight? The aim is to have a group of employees willing and able to contribute something to the fold — you don’t want attendees who can’t provide anything useful.  

It isn’t always easy to decipher who can bring value and who can’t, so consider a brief, informal discussion with potential attendees to see how much they can bring to the meeting room table.

What is the desired output for your meeting? 

Desire: “The amount of something produced by a person, machine, or industry.” – Oxford Dictionary 

The people in your meeting need to be able to help decide, contribute to the output on the solution or approve the decision. Obviously, the desired output may vary, but ultimately the goal is always the same – to achieve something. 

Think about who you need to reach that achievement: it might be decision makers or senior members of staff, innovators or technical team members. If you have a clear goal, you should be able to figure out all the finer details of your meeting, including your list of attendees. 

If you follow these steps, it should be straightforward to create the perfect list of attendees, and from there, you’ll be well on your way to a productive meeting (one that nobody will moan about!). If in doubt, always keep the goal of your meeting in mind; you can hardly go wrong if you’re remembering to always find the path to meeting it. 

Research report: Attitudes to Hybrid Working.

Attitudes to Hybrid Working Report

The impact of hybrid work on employees and employers.

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