Some Thoughts on Meetings

Meetings are very expensive mostly due to the time commitment from the participants. So in order to be respectful, it’s imperative to carefully determine if you should ask people to prioritize this meeting above something else.

Definition- for the purposes of the following suggestions a meeting occurs when two or more people set aside time to interact directly with one another (in person, on line or telephone).


There are only two reasons to have meetings:

1. to receive immediate input from another person or group about a compelling idea

Creative session- no defined boundaries or established outcomes…just idea flow

Urgent Group Decision Making- A sprint style gathering to provide mission critical information and obtaining immediate feedback which will affect the outcome of the mission.

2. to create change through teaching and inspiration (Presentation)

Otherwise, you probably don’t need a meeting. The information can be shared (and input collected) more efficiently in other ways.

If you decide to have a meeting, consider making these declarations...

  1. On Time Start- Arrive 5 minutes early or don’t come.
  2. Preparation- Have an agenda with clear, time defined topics. Attach any background information which requires feedback or needs to be reviewed in order to make a decision. Everyone commits to enough preparation so ideas can be presented succinctly (strive for 30 seconds or less). Any ideas that require analysis or review of more than one minute must be shared in advance (define a standard for how far in advance).
  3. Sprint- Come prepared to sprint, not to relax. Consider standing up. and remove all distractions (phones, text, email, etc.). Think of the meeting as really hard work.

If people leave the meeting looking forward to the next one…you know you have a successful meeting. Otherwise, you need to change the content or style…or eliminate the meeting altogether. If you eliminate a meeting and no one misses it or the mission doesn’t suffer…it was a good call.