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Nice to Know

Like most managers, credit managers are invited to attend numerous meetings.  A friend of mine works for a company where he routinely spends 15 hours a week in what he calls Nice to Know meetings.  These are not special meetings called to address and resolve particular issues or concerns, and the most painful to attend is a 4 hour long meeting each Monday in which every department manager provides an update relating to their progress relating to plans, processes and problems.

As the name suggests, a Nice to Know meeting is one in which the information being discussed may not be necessary for attendees to perform their work.  The issue that I want to address is how to avoid attending Nice to Know meetings.  The first trick I learned is that when I receive an automated invitation to a meeting, rather than accepting or rejecting, I select the third option… which is to tentatively agree to attend.  This means if I find the subject matter interesting I might attend unless: (a) I get a better offer or (b) a project or a problem requires my attention or (c) I am too busy to attend, or (d) I am just not in the mood to attend.

Another useful tool is to respond to an invitation with a series of questions, such as these:

  • Have you published a meeting agenda?  If not, please send it to me ASAP so that I can decide if my attendance is necessary
  • Will I need to attend the entire meeting, or can I attend a portion of it?
  • What specifically will you need me to share during this meeting?
  • Do you have any objection if I delegate the task of attending to someone else?
  • Is there a dial in?  I ask this question even if the meeting is down the hall.  Why?  Because I prefer to attend by phone so I can get other work done while listening to the meeting with my phone muted

I think you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to avoid attending many Nice to Know meetings.  Some of you may be asking if there has been any backlash relating to avoiding Nice to Know meetings.  I think the answer depends on the individual.  If you tend to isolate yourself anyway, or if your department is ostracized to some degree within your company, you probably want to attend some of the Nice to Know meetings.

Michael Dennis, MBA, CBF, LCM

What should you do with the time you save by not attending Nice to Know meetings?  To most credit managers, I would say this:  Try leaving on time once or twice a week.  I think you will find it to be a pleasant experience.  That’s my opinion.  What’s yours?

Michael Dennis’ Covering Credit Commentary. Michael’s website is  www.coveringcredit.com

The opinions presented are those of the author.  The opinions and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of CMA, or their Officers and Directors.  Readers are encouraged to evaluate any suggestions or recommendations made, and accept and adopt only those concepts that make sense to them.

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2 Responses to “Nice To Know Meetings – Michael Dennis, CBF”

  1. Gordoln Lundene says:

    It depends on how one’s boss sees the meetings, and their role in the company’s culture – Nice to Know, may be a command performance.
    They could be used to practice 2-minute elevator pitches.

  2. Dorothy Siegel says:

    I think Gordon is right. We have to attend some meetings, and in particular meetings we know our boss will be attending to “show the flag.” This I would consider a command performance = mandatory attendance.

    In my experience, these meetings are the exception rather than the rule. I like the idea of tentatively accepting until you find how who else is attending and what the topic is and what you are there to do. Example:

    Problem Solve
    Participate Actively or
    Listen

    If all I am there to do is listen, I think I would rather (a) call in or (b) delegate to someone else or (c) not attend but ask for a meeting summary instead.

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