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MLP 067: How Leaders Can Improve Meetings By Learning How To Uninvite Certain People

Inviting employees to unnecessary meetings is a double-edged mistake. It wastes the employees’ time, and it bogs down the meeting itself with extra voices.

As a business leader, you’ll often be tasked to manage your staff’s time in and out of meetings. This will include deciding who needs to be in any given meeting room and who should continue their work without losing momentum.

You’ll likely encounter scenarios when you have to uninvite certain personnel to keep things running smoothly.  Episode #067 of the Meeting Leadership Podcast lists useful suggestions to clean up your meeting roster:

  • Give yourself permission to uninvite people
  • Practice before you uninvite someone
  • Let them down easy
  • Be firm and consistent

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

00:00 – Show Opening

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:27 – Podcast starts here!

Welcome to another episode of the meeting leadership podcast where we help professionals build their leadership skills and learn how to run highly effective meetings and for all of you who have to run meetings, what you’re going to learn in today’s episode will save you a lot of time because today we’re going to talk about how leaders can improve meetings by learning how to uninvite certain people.

00:43 – Why should I uninvite some people?

To kick this off, let me share a real story. Now, when I train groups of people 30 and 40 and 50 and 150 at a time whether it’s at a conference or a direct inservice or this kind of thing, one of the questions I’ll ask is, “Okay, please put your hand up in the air, if you’ve ever been in a meeting and you didn’t know why you were there.”

01:20 – A culture without unnecessary meetings

You would not believe how often so many hands go up. I mean 95% of the room, people have had this experience. It is absolute madness. Think about this for yourself. Have you ever been asked to attend a meeting that had absolutely nothing to do with you?

It happens all the time, right? When this happens, what happens for you? You’re sitting in the meeting, you’re just grinding your teeth and you’re thinking about all the important things that you should be doing instead of being in this useless meeting.

With that in mind, think about this. What would happen if you could uninvite yourself or if you’re the meeting facilitator, wouldn’t it be great to easily be able to tell certain people that they just don’t have to be there?

Now, this is absolutely a powerful practice that requires a delicate approach at first, but once you create a culture in which people know they don’t have to waste their time and unnecessary meetings, well then, you, your team, your organization will get a lot more accomplished.

02:12 – Suggestion #1 – Give yourself permission to uninvite people

Now let me give you three suggestions for how to put this into action especially if you are the meeting leader. Number one, give yourself permission to uninvite people. You don’t have to be thinking in your head that you’re going to be stepping on toes or really crushing anybody’s spirit.

02:33 – Suggestion #2 – Practice before you uninvite someone

If you’re able to clearly explain things to them, then inside yourself is where this begins. Then what you can do for the second step is actually practice before you uninvite somebody. I mean quite literally, you’re doing this in the mirror at home, you’re imagining having the conversation or if you’re lucky, you’ve got a spouse or a partner or someone to bounce this off of so that you’re physiologically prepared when you actually go to uninvite somebody from a meeting.

02:53 – Suggestion #3 – Let them down easy

Finally, you’re in that moment and you’re actually uninviting somebody. Now, depending on who you’re talking to, they could be what? Offended? Some people and I’m going to guess a lot of people could be overjoyed because they don’t want to waste any time in a bad meeting, but one of the things you’ll have in your back pocket when you’re actually uninviting somebody is what I call a shiny object.

03:28 – Suggestion #4 – Be firm and consistent

Now, maybe they’ve got a special project or something else they could be doing, and then you’ll say, well, you’re not invited to this meeting, but maybe you could work on that special project that we talked about before and that just might be the way that you can let them down gently in case they’re just a little bit offended and throughout this entire process, don’t forget to be firm, be firm with yourself, don’t waffle with that internal voice.

Be firm in the moment when you’re uninviting somebody and be consistent in the future. Not like you’re uninvited and then invite them in, it’s just not going to work because if you can actually pull this off and build a culture where people don’t have to be in wasteful meetings, I guarantee your productivity is going to shoot up, your organization will definitely strengthen.

Like I say so consistently from that one sort of meeting moment where you’re making it better, you will have a positive impact on your customers and your community. I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy.

04:04 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy

I am so proud of the great live training that we’ve got there, the online training that so many professionals are putting into action to build their leadership skills and to run highly productive meetings. If you’d like to learn more, visit meetingleadershipinc.com/academy.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app and we really love ratings and reviews. Send those along as well and we can help build out even more content as we move forward.

As always, thank you so much for listening and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

04:46 – Podcast Outro

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. Don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow right here on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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