Dealing with people who are partly present at your meetings

In step three of our Better Meetings Campaign, we are focusing on getting rid of unnecessary participants. By streamlining the size of our meetings We can make them more effective and more likely to succeed.

In our Better Meetings Survey, we have found that most people think that 25% of participants or more were unnecessary to the content of  their meetings. (Follow the link to take the Better Meetings Survey yourself,  and find out how you compare with other organizations.)

We have produced a series of cartoons on unnecessary meeting participants. This one is about the attendee  – Multi-Tasha – who is constantly multitasking. Do you have one of these in your meetings?


One way to spot them, particularly in conference calls, is when you ask them a question and they have to ask you to summarize the content of the discussion that they missed before they can answer the question.

There are two possibilities in dealing with Tasha.

The first is that she really doesn’t need to be there. Perhaps the latest text, e-mail or tweet is genuinely more important and relevant to her than your meeting. If this is the case, then she probably shouldn’t be attending.

Alternatively, she may be critical to the success of your meeting, but just isn’t paying attention. If you do need Tasha to attend your meeting fully then you need to change this distracting and annoying multitasking behaviour.

We use the phrase “multitasking” to feel good about not paying attention. It’s a myth. Nobody can do their best work by not paying attention to it. If the tasks being conducted in parallel are trivial, this may not matter. But if it’s important then we need your full attention.

If you want to learn how to deal with Tasha and other unnecessary participants, then join the free Better Meetings Campaign. You will receive a booklet each week for six weeks with some specific tools, tips and actions you can take to resolve six key challenges in having fewer, better on and off-line meetings.

If you would like fewer, better, meetings, join the campaign today.

Join: The better meetings campaign

About the author:

Kevan Hall Kevan Hall is a CEO, author, speaker and trainer in matrix management, virtual teams and global working. He is the author of "Speed Lead - faster, simpler ways to manage people, projects and teams in complex companies, "Making the Matrix work - how matrix managers engage people and cut through complexity", and the "Life in a Matrix" podcasts, videos, cartoons and blog. He is CEO and founder of Global Integration. Company profile: .

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