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The Death of Meetings

The Death of Meetings

Everyone hates meetings. Everyone talks about how they hate meetings. Everyone at meetings usually hates them and spends the meeting on their phone.

The NY Times even wrote a long article this Sunday entitled “When You’ve Had One Meeting Too Money” where they called for a Meeting Revolution. As they argue, time is a precious commodity and most meetings don’t have a return on investment.

I wonder why no one does anything about it. I think we should think about implementing new ideas about meetings.

  • “No Meeting Mondays”
  • “Stand-up Meetings”
  • “12 Minute Meetings”
  • 1 Legged Meetings”

There has been some talk about the future of meetings for awhile.

But I’ve never seen much action.

Have you? How are you changing your meetings?

What are your tips to making great meetings?

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16 Comments

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Profile Photo Tom Vannoy

I’ve seen stand up meetings put to good use in at least two agencies and they work very well. Focuses the agenda and keeps it limited to the important topics.

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Profile Photo Lisa Nelson

The best meetings I have been involved with have been in Second Life. They are far more interesting, overall, create an environment very close to reality, provide the opportunity to create three-dimensional diagrams of what you’re describing. When you broaden the discussion from meetings to overall collaboration, the possibilities of virtual worlds grow greater. It is a venue that deserves much consideration to make meetings collaborative and involve participants.

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Profile Photo Amanda Blount

With our new boss, the meetings are better, but still are like normal meetings. Our old boss used the meetings to tell us his opinions about everything in life, and how his family was doing. He used the meetings for free counseling. I am so glad he is no longer our boss. Our new boss has an agenda, and mostly sticks to it. Plus, he only has a meeting about 2-3 times a month, the rest of the time he uses a mass e-mail with important bullets. I like this type. If he wants our input he has a meeting, if he does not need our input, he sends an e-mail. Like I said, at least he is better than bosses I have had before.

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Profile Photo Joe Boutte

If everyone is on BBs during a meeting, maybe meetings should be via BB. I like stand-up meetings, but if a meeting is necessary, have an agenda, objectives, and action items, along with a set time. Ban open-ended meetings. We have work to do.

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Profile Photo Amanda Blount

I have never heard of the 1 legged meeting, but it sounds fun!! LOL I would love to have one just to see the looks of the people walking by as we were having it. LOL

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Profile Photo Eric Melton

“Meetings – where minutes are kept, and hours are wasted”.

I agree totally with Joe’s comments, and I’m going to think about how one could run a BB meeting…

A Second Life environment meeting as Lisa mentioned would be very cool, if we could use it.

Recurring meetings for Working Groups are often a big time-killer. How often does the need to meet to discuss hot actions or due-outs really coincide with a set time every week? It is easier to calendar… maybe a weekly WG stand up topic could be to decide when to have a full session.

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Profile Photo Greg Simonis

What is a: Stand-up mtg? One where u stand up instead of sit down?

12 Minute mtg? One < or = 12 minutes?

1 Legged mtg? One that lasts 4 as long as 1 can stand on 1 leg?

No matter what the descriptions r, it looks like the point is 2 make a mtg. productive AND sometimes making them shorter does that. Ex. We only have 15 min. so lets GET R’ DONE!

Things I work 2 have in place 2 make the most of every mtg.:

1. Take a close look at what the mtg. purpose is AND ask myself do we really need a mtg. to resolve this? Most of the time I find out that no, we don’t.

2. Make sure I have all the right players and decision makers involved.

3. Create clear agenda COMPLETE with mtg. purpose, goals, topic/mtg. background, and any pre-mtg. prep. needed.

4. Alot times to each agenda item (ex. 5 min.-introductions, 10 min.-project description, 45 min.-discussion, 15 min.-determine action items, 5 min.-mtg. wrap up, etc.)

5. Send agenda out well ahead of mtg. date with enough time B4 mtg. so any pre-mtg. prep. needed can b taken care of.

6. Arrive at mtg. a few minutes ahead of schedule so any socializing can be taken care of prior to start of mtg.

7. Stick to the agenda

8. After mtg., send out mtg. summary
Gregory Simonis, WisDOT DTSD Publications Editor

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Profile Photo Margaret Sarro

I agree that poorly planned and facilitated meetings (i.e. most meetings) are a huge time suck and waste of time. However I don’t think we can eliminate meetings all together. Meetings are usually the only way that I can get my stakeholders to talk to each other and where I can get decisions made. Pulling folks together every once in awhile allows people to focus on one topic and fosters participation. In addition there are so many social nuances that can be lost in electronic communications. People need to come together to build on their relationships. Without a relationship with someone you’d always wonder if that smiley face at the end of the email was laughing at you or with you.

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Profile Photo Joe Flood

Amazon has a two-pizza team rule. That means if you need more than two pizzas to feed a project team, then it’s too large. The same applies to meetings – a meeting with more than 6 people is almost always unproductive. By the time everyone goes around the table and has their say, the meeting is almost over!

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Profile Photo Brenda Troiano

Sometimes going to a meeting becomes so routine although things do need to be discussed & having that face to face every so often is important. I did participate in a meeting last week where we sat on bean bags. We still kept to the agenda, and did our usual weekly meeting however, this just added a little bit of fun and relaxation to the meeting. Throwing in something fun & different once in a while to mix it up was a good experience.

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Profile Photo Greg Licamele

Part of the problem is Outlook, which I assume most people use. The default 30-minute blocks for meetings make many people think, well, this meeting MUST last 60 minutes. Outlook would do the world so much good if it allowed 10-minute increments to make people think — do I really need 30 minutes or can this get done in less than 10?

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Profile Photo Janina Rey Echols Harrison

A well run meeting with an agenda should end quickly. If it is going on too long, then you are not sticking to the agenda, people are having side conversations that do not relate to the agenda (resolve elsewhere). Make it know that anyone, everyone, should speak up when the meeting gets sidetracked.

Often people deliberately get off subject or try to ‘extend’ discussions and/or postpone them to avoid change or confrontation.

Those are interesting options for keeping it short. I am all for ending a meeting before the time slot for the meeting room is expended.

If it looks like people are talking about items that no longer involve me, I excuse myself. This usually gives others permission to do the same and stops that type of activity in the future. You want me and others there? Keep on track.

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