Introduction

Meetings Suck is about turning one of the most loathed elements of business into one of the most valuable.  Written by Cameron Herold, the founder of the COO Alliance, and who’s also been called “today’s CEO whisperer” by Forbes Magazine.

The Big Idea

Everybody hates meetings.  However, that’s not because meetings suck, but rather because WE suck at running meetings.

Think about it this way.  If you signed up your kid to play little-league baseball without any training or explanation of the rules, what would be the outcome?  They’d hate it.

That’s how we currently approach meetings.  Without a framework and understanding of how to get the most out of them.

Key Insights

People spend 1 to 2 hours every day in meetings.  That’s effectively a quarter of their day!  So we have to train them in order to get the most out of them.  And we have to stop over-inviting people.  Managers often worry about hurting their employees’ feelings, but it’s better NOT to invite someone to a meeting, rather than have them show up and not participate.

So how can you set up and run meetings that are high-functioning?

Every meeting should have a very clear agenda.  What will be covered, in what order, and how many minutes for each item.  We often book meetings for one hour, when they should only be 25 minutes.  Thinking about the time each agenda item takes can save a lot of time.

The agenda should be shared with everyone in advance of the meeting so they can prepare.  This is especially relevant for the more introverted members of your team, who can contribute much more if they have time to think about the agenda beforehand.

Having an agenda also makes it easier for the moderator to control the meeting, helps people stay focused, and allows them to decide for themselves if they should attend.

And here’s another tip: end every meeting at least 5 minutes early.  This allows you to walk down the hall, talk to your assistant, grab a quick coffee, and start your next meeting exactly on time.  Never be late because that sends the message that either the meeting’s goal or the attendees’ time aren’t important to you.

Conclusion

This is a book for all employees at all types and sizes of companies… People are working very hard to avoid meetings all the time… instead, they end up over-using Slack and email.

In reality, you need to meet face to face in order to avoid all the mis-understandings that happen with written communication.

There’s definitely a point to slow down, and have high-functioning, productive meetings.

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