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.
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.