another meeting?

I’m off to another meeting…

We all attend them; I think it’s the rules. Why must we have meetings? OK, why must we have so many meetings? OK why must they last sooooo long? I am not really opposed to them. I suppose it’s the most effective way to get communication going between groups of people. To be honest, I attend them often for several aspects of my life.  It’s necessary and often enjoyable. But lately I’ve been cranky about some of them. However, I think for me to be able to tolerate them, we should set a few ground rules to have effective meetings.

  1. Bring food (the initiator of the meeting is responsible for this)
  2. Bring coffee or beverages (see item #1)
  3. Don’t have them Monday morning.
  4. Don’t have them late at night.
  5. Don’t schedule a “work” meeting after normal working hours.
  6. Don’t have them Friday afternoon.
  7. Have an agenda and stick to it.
  8. Have a definite time to end and end it on time.
  9. If you don’t finish items on Item #7, see Item #8.
  10. Don’t rehash items discussed ad nauseam at the last meeting.
  11. Let other people talk (ok, most other people…you know who I mean).
  12. Consider taking a break mid-meeting
  13. Don’t wake me during the meeting
  14. Get to the point
  15. If you present with a Powerpoint presentation DON’T read it to me.
  16. Ask the opinion of the attendees more than once.
  17. Confirm people’s understanding of what was agreed upon at the meeting. (Like who will bring food next time?)
  18. Make an action item list. (See item #17)
  19. Sound interested in the subject while speaking.
  20. Don’t have 20 things on your agenda list.

See you at the next meeting. By the way, I’ll be late and have to leave early.

none of my meetings ever end quite this way

photos are from sean munson’s photostream on Flickr (used under the Creative Common License)

another meeting?

11 thoughts on “another meeting?

  1. nc says:

    I typically stipulate a fixed number of meetings in my contract. Any additional meeting will be billed at $150 per hour + travel cost. Any meeting last loner than 3 hours will be billed as a day rate.
    The clients need to repect our time.

  2. I would go over points 7, 10 and 17 a few more times. They basically cover everything else 🙂 If you don’t have an agenda, or a decision and task summary of the last meeting, then yes, you’ll be discussing the same points over and over again.

    (we’ve blogged about the fact that meeting without an agenda is a bit like shopping without a list –

    By the way, I never have meetings that are over an hour long – I find that most people (me included) just phase out after an hour. If your meeting is three hours long – you’re trying to wrap too much meeting into one space.

    1. I agree. Yes, a meeting over an hour is probably too long in our culture. We don’t have long attention spans. Also, if you can’t say it an hour, do you need to say it?

      1. I read somewhere that people remember things 70% more (vs hearing or reading) when they discuss them, which is the basis behind meetings. But after an hour it’s not really a discussion any more.

      2. I would agree with that concept. We are a culture of interaction and discussion (over lecture) or at least I am. However, it becomes counterproductive after an hour or so.

    2. Erin says:

      “36, married and proud father of three. Moved to a brand new 6 room mansion. With servants. Lots of ’em.” Is this your professional profile? Or, is your mansion for sale? I would suggest the blogger apply a surcharge for your advertising. At age 36, I hope to see a more sophisticated, professional, and tactful way to brag.

  3. william finnerty says:

    the stand up meeting moves things along at a brisk pace, but for clients we now always propose design mtgs as additional hourly, including prep and post mtg notes. it becomes very efficient! good for us, good for the client. in general i don’t believe people understand how quickly time is consumed, especially when everything else happens so quickly, but this method helps.

  4. Ted Rusnak says:

    Just had the chance to read this one. Truisms all.

    Allow me to add two.
    If accomplied by an associate, define the limits of their input, unless they’re the reason for the meeting.

    Take notes, if possible, if not, take a moment immediately after the meeting and then send a copy/outline to all….”This is what I understand we discussed and these are the decisions made and, (all to often), these are the areas you’ve asked that we explore as alternates or future considerations”.

    I’ve learned that some clients don’t, or won’t (conveniently), remember that they agreed to some of the items on the agenda and still others did not clearly define what they wanted but assumed that I/you/we would take care of it….but never said anything about that subject during the meeting..

    It defintely lets them know we’re listening….at least for the first hour…..

    ciao, Ted .

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