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The Three 'R's of attending business meetings

Nadhan on ‎10-14-2013 06:42 PM

During a regular workday, I interact with several colleagues across organizational units internal and external to the enterprise across geographical regions. My role entails a series of well-planned business meetings where I continue to stick to the basics of productivity excellence. Notwithstanding these best practices, there is a simple but vital requirement for these meetings to be effective — the participant must attend! Based upon my experience organizing and attending meetings, here are my thoughts on what one must do upon receiving a meeting notice — characterized as the 3 R’s of attending business meetings:


1.       Read. It is important that the recipient opens the meeting notice and reads it to see what the meeting is about. Reading the meeting notice in advance may result in preparatory steps to be taken by the recipient. Just showing up because it popped up in their calendar can be very counter-productive to the meeting and other attendees.


2.       Respond. The recipient must accept, decline or indicate that they are tentative on the meeting.

  • Accept. After reviewing their priorities and their commitments made during the meeting time frame, recipients must send a positive response if they can attend after taking preparatory steps.
  • Decline. Recipients must decline if they know of conflicts and are not in a position to attend. The sender may have to take alternative steps or look for alternative times to conduct the meeting since the recipient cannot respond.
  • Tentative. If the recipient is not sure about attendance, it is more important to respond “Tentative” than not respond at all. At the same time, the tentative response must be changed to “Accept” or “Decline” before the meeting.

3.       Review. Additionally, it is very helpful overall to review — every business day — the meetings on your calendar for the next business day as well as seven calendar days from today. This ensures that the recipient provides sufficient time to the senders to move meetings around if necessary in advance.

  • If there are conflicting meetings at the same time, determine the one you will attend based upon your priorities and send a “Decline” response to the other senders or make alternative arrangements.
  • If you are declining, suggest an alternative time that works better for you.

Out of all the steps above, 3. Review is the most effective since it provides an opportunity to read and respond in a timely fashion.


I am not a big fan of meetings. However, we also live in a brave new virtual world where we do need to interact on a regular basis with our colleagues across the global enterprise to collaborate and interact in an effective manner.


Therefore, the need to meet and interact is here to stay — as long as it is done in a controlled manner with a well-

defined purpose.


How about you? What techniques work best for you in managing your meeting schedule?


Want to meet about it? Please send me a meeting notice. I willRead, Respond and Review.


Team up with HP Technology Expert, E.G.Nadhan


Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.


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on ‎02-05-2014 06:30 AM

Well said. 


With so many working virtually, and still having the need to constantly communicate, it would be helpful if everyone remembered the lesson taught in school: End the meeting a little early, so everyone can get to the next one on time.  I know one team who does that. Thank you, Nadhan! 

on ‎02-05-2014 07:19 AM

Thank you, Alan.  It is indeed fascinating how getting back to the basics of a day in our life at work augments our overall productivity globally.  One more idea to be added to Sticking to the basics for Productivity Excellence.


Team up with HP Technology Expert, E.G.Nadhan

Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.

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