Advances in the Management of Worthless Meeting Syndrome

Advances the management of worthless meeting syndrome

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers

Now that we have all been stuck inside for almost two years, many of us are suffering from an exacerbation of worthless meeting syndrome (WMS) , most recently remotely.

Of course, worthless meeting syndrome is a well-described chronic disease which has periodic exacerbations. It can be endemic or global with recovery and remissions. Here are the signs and symptoms.

One meeting expert notes that bad meetings are the bane of the corporate world — and yet despite what appears to be an overwhelming consensus that they’re often unnecessary and unproductive, many workplaces continue to struggle to avoid them. In this piece, the authors discuss the psychological pitfalls that lead us to schedule and attend too many meetings, and share strategies to help employees, managers, and organizations overcome those challenges. While there’s no way to completely eliminate the universal human biases that drive these tendencies, a greater awareness of the psychological factors at play can help us all work towards healthier communication norms, more-effective interactions, and cleaner calendars.

My recommended treatment is to refuse to attend any meetings:

  1. Where there is no agenda
  2. Where it is informational that could be communicated some other way
  3. Where we discuss what we discussed last time without taking action
  4. Where my input is required to inform a decision or take action on something
  5. Where there is no psychological safety
  6. Where a working group could have done the grunt work offline and reported their findings for approval or modification
  7. On weekends or nights unless absolutely required due to mission critical time zone issues or deadlines
  8. The meeting last longer than 45 min, if not 30
  9. No one takes minutes and there are action items for next (if necessary) meeting
  10. There are more than 7 people in the meeting
  11. Lobby your congressional delegation to make them illegal As remote work becomes more widespread, the parliament of Portugal recently passed a law banning bosses from contacting employees after working hours by phone, message or email. Violations of the new law — designed to “respect the privacy of the worker,” including rest and family time — could result in fines. Employees there have also been given the right to opt out of remote work, and to be reimbursed for expenses incurred while working from home.

Note: Ivermectin has not been shown to be clinically effective.

If your boss insists that you attend and you are accused of not being a team player, then get a note from your doctor. They are available online at

For the meeting junkie who has everything, we are also offering a clock at our WMS store that not only measures the length of the meeting, but also the prorated amount of money you are paying for the people to attend the meeting, similar to the US National Debt clock.

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