Could Your Company Meeting Be More Efficient?

02/25/2020

A lot of my clients spend a great deal of time improving their "meeting skills." While it is absolutely critical to know how best to lead and contribute to a dialogue (a topic for another blog), a lot of companies have been re-thinking the whole meeting format.

Research shows that most managers believe meetings kill productivity: 65% of senior managers say meetings keep them from completing their own work, according to a survey from Harvard Business School and Boston University, and 71% of 182 managers surveyed said they find meetings to be unproductive and inefficient.

What's a better solution? Well...

If you must have a meeting, Elon Musk says "be certain [you are] providing value to the whole audience." Musk also advises his employees to "walk out or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value."

Jeff Bezos did away with PowerPoint presentations at Amazon and starts each meeting with each attendee silently reading a memo. The memo creates the context for a good discussion. He says that the reason for the group reading is that executives will bluff their way through meetings as if they've already read the memo.

Jack Dorsey, of Twitter, uses a similar method. "Most of my meetings are now Google doc-based, starting with 10 minutes of reading and commenting directly in the doc," Dorsey tweeted in 2018. "This practice makes time for everyone to get on same page, allows us to work from many locations, and gets to truth/critical thinking faster."

Steven Sinofsky, the former Windows Division President at Microsoft, supports this Google Doc method. Sinofsky explained the potential up-side to writing during meetings as opposed to traditional ones.

"Writing is more inclusive," Sinofsky said. "It is easier to contribute, doesn't reward bullies and bulls---ers, and allows for contemplation."