Full access to Entrepreneur for $5

The 4 Types of Meetings You Should Not Attend

The more successful you are, the less time you can waste meeting contacts who only take away valuable minutes.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. This article was updated on November 23, 2020

We already know that the business world moves thanks to contacts . After all, success is based on who you know and not what you know, right? That said, the busier you get, the less time you have to waste on business meetings that are unproductive.


The problem is that sometimes you are already stuck in these commitments without realizing it and you may be stuck in a cycle of meaningless meetings. This soon causes quality of life to be lost as your personal time is consumed.

The good news is that there is a solution to this problem: be more selective about the meetings you have. First, I want to clarify something: I am talking exclusively about meetings that are intended to be productive and are based solely around advancing business goals, not social gatherings.

How do you identify the people who will only waste your time? Let's look at some examples.

1. The acquaintance of a friend

It is very common to date these types of people when you are an entrepreneur or businessman. The story goes like this: you are in a meeting having a beer with your friends when one of them says “I have a friend that you should meet. I think they could work. " Your natural response should be "Perfect, thank you," but you should never actually keep that appointment, because they have a high probability of being zero productive .

The professional way to handle these meetings is for your friend to introduce you to his acquaintance via email after asking you in person if you are interested. Next, you should schedule a call of no more than 10 minutes with the contact to determine if it is worth taking two or three hours of your life to get to know the person and take the business relationship to the next level.

2. People who are looking for "advice"

This is another example of a meeting that does not make sense to have in person. Let me be clear: I am not against helping other people and giving guidance to someone who could genuinely benefit from your experience. I believe that mentoring is a critical factor for success. That said, the more successful your business is, the less time you will have to spend helping others, at least not without sacrificing the time you spend with your loved ones.

Again, schedule a 10-minute call with the person who needs you and remember that even if you want to, you can't always help everyone in the way they want.

3. The person who cancels an appointment minutes before

Maybe you had a call or meeting scheduled in your agenda for weeks and seven minutes before the appointment, you get an email saying "Sorry, but an issue came up and I have to reschedule." This is one of the things that bothers me the most because it means that the other person does not value our time. You had a time slot reserved for this person when you clearly have more important things to do.

This individual has already set a precedent because if he cancels a meeting shortly before the appointment, whatever the reason, it is likely that he will do it again and you simply have no time to lose. If you think it is convenient, tell him that you do not see that they will be able to work well together and move on.

4. A "blind date"

These are the worst meetings. You get several random emails from a friend who wants to introduce you to someone else for an unknown reason (copy the subject in question, of course). Your friend should have asked you first if you were interested in having this contact, allowing you to gracefully decline.

These blind meetings are hardly going to turn out to be anything productive, even if it's because of the unprofessional way in which they originated. In this case, as in the previous ones, the maximum you should dedicate is a 10-minute call with the contact and a strong talk with your friend.

Adam Callinan

Written By

Adam Callinan is a founder at BottleKeeper, the fast-paced and sarcasm-infused solution to the warm beer and broken bottle epidemics that have plagued the world for centuries. Callinan is also a founding partner at Beachwood Ventures, a Los Angeles-based early-stage and non-traditional venture-capital firm at the intersection of technology and entertainment. As an entrepreneur, Callinan has spent over a decade building small businesses in and around technology, medical devices and consumer products, which most recently includes an exit in 2013. Callinan lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife Katie.