01-Escaping the Meeting Trap
Many people dislike meetings as they feel they are a waste of time and life. To be honest, many meetings are indeed unproductive, draining energy and wasting time!
No wonder Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, encourages his employees to vote with their feet and leave if they feel that they are not adding value to the meeting!
Imagine this scenario: during a meeting called by a company leader, one attendee stands up and leaves without saying a word; then another, and another… until only a few people are left. At that point, everyone might collectively tell the leader that since the key participants are absent, it would be better to find another time. Then everyone disperses, leaving the leader sitting there awkwardly.
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Although this scene may seem harsh, at least for the leader, the benefit is that future meeting organizers would think twice before calling a meeting, fearing such an awkward situation.
Does this scenario actually happen? I believe it can happen in companies like Elon Musk’s.
02-Effective Meeting Strategies
Why do people have meetings in organizations? There are several reasons:
- Information dissemination: Meetings are held to share important information with the participants.
- Coordination of positions: Meetings provide a platform for aligning and coordinating the positions of different team members.
- Brainstorming: Meetings offer an opportunity for collective thinking and generating new ideas.
- Energy exchange: Meetings can be a source of motivation and energy for the participants.
- Decision-making: Meetings are often held to make important decisions that require input from multiple stakeholders.
- Skill enhancement: Meetings can be a platform for learning and skill development.
However, if a meeting fails to provide key information, disregards participants’ input and suggestions, lacks a learning component, and doesn’t energize the participants, it can feel like a waste of time and life. In such cases, meetings can become draining or even have a negative impact on individuals. People often resort to various tactics like doodling, doing their own tasks, using social media, or watching videos to cope with unproductive meetings.
Under the leadership of Jeff Bezos, Amazon has adopted a meeting approach that is almost different from any other company.
Firstly, no one uses PowerPoint! I like this! Not just because my PowerPoint skills are terrible, but also because I’ve noticed that too many people spend too much time beautifying their slides!
The meeting facilitator or manager with a specific topic prepares a 6-page document, consisting of complete sentences with verbs and nouns, rather than a simple list of concepts.
Then, at the beginning of the meeting, everyone silently reads this “6-page” document to level the playing field of knowledge and ensure that no one is clueless about the discussion topics.
Bezos also emphasizes small meetings, with a limited number of participants. Many times, invited attendees are left confused, not knowing why they were invited and what value they can add.
I remember a story that illustrates how these leaders value who attends their meetings. Once, Steve Jobs entered a meeting room and asked a participant, “What do you do?” He then requested that person to leave without any mercy.
03-Strategies and Tips
To conduct a good meeting, here are some tips:
1.If it’s not necessary, don’t hold the meeting! Some meetings are just a result of leaders wanting to be heard, but they are actually a waste of time.
Sometimes leaders speak endlessly, showcasing their superior intellect and understanding of the overall situation. Everyone nods along, and the leader feels satisfied with their own brilliance. They may also point out mistakes made by their subordinates, further establishing their presence. However, it’s important to note that many meetings simply fulfill the psychological needs of leaders.
2.Meeting management requires a basic structure, such as an agenda, goals, time allocation, decision-making methods, and action plans. Use Huddles.app to manage your meeting, it contains all the tools talked perversely.
3.Invite the right participants to the meeting.
4.Have a good process facilitator, often referred to as a meeting facilitator.
5.Establish meeting behavior norms, such as penalties for lateness or a no-phone policy.
These are all common practices, but it’s crucial to acknowledge that many organizations struggle to even implement these basic principles. This highlights the overall poor management level in many places.
We spend too much time in meetings every day! It’s no wonder that some companies have started implementing “no meeting days” to allow employees to spend more time with their children and families. Let’s try to spend less time in meetings and more time with our loved ones!
Worked as a management consultant for nearly 20 years. Provided management consulting services to many large state-owned, private and Fortune 500 companies in the areas of strategy clarification and implementation, organizational and cultural change, and executive selection and development.