Meetings…and how to make them more effective

September 24, 2014 0 comments General

boardroomYou organize a conference call at 10am with seven different groups dialing in. You wait for all parties to get on the call and your meeting that was supposed to start at 10am is now only starting to get into the meat of the agenda at 10:15.

Or, you want to hold a quick brainstorm around a new product launch and somehow the room you reserved isn’t big enough, as 25 people want to attend.

Or your mind starts to wander in a meeting where people drone on and on about a problem that no one wants to “own” the solution to, and all of a sudden another hour of your life is gone.

Any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? If you work in a big office or have a lot of people from different offices that need to come together and communicate often, you have probably run into a meeting like one of the ones outlined above.

So what’s the solution? There are ways to make your meetings more effective—either the ones you lead or attend. Here are some ways to do it.

Shorten it. Outlook encourages you to block meetings in 30 minute increments, which make many meetings an hour long when they don’t need to be. Having a hard out helps people be more concise and focused. Schedule 10 or 15 minute meetings to replace your longer ones whenever possible.

Ban technology. This one may not always be doable, but how many meetings have you attended where people are checking out Facebook on their laptops or constantly checking email on their phones? They are disengaged. Ban the technology and shorten the meeting to make sure everyone is focused on the task at hand.

Standing meetings. Famous in the tech world, having people stand at a meeting helps both keep meetings short and energy up.

Meeting Free Zones. Block off time on your calendar as time that can’t be dedicated towards meetings. Or implement a company-wide “Meeting Free Day” to help people be able to have the time to focus on producing meaningful work.

And of course, a favorite rule of ours from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is the two pizza rule: Never have a meeting where two pizzas can’t feed the entire group.

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