10 TIPS FOR HAVING MORE
Meetings can easily turn into time-wasting sittings. The purpose of a meeting should
be to increase productivity, not hinder it.
1. Do you have to have a meeting?
The best way to have more productive meetings is to have fewer of them. Meet only when you need input,
approval, decision making, or agreement. Make sure it isn’t just something you could have announced in an
2. Keep meetings short
No more 3-hour meetings. As a rule, your meetings should have set time-limits that are as short
as possible. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer limits herself to holding only 10-minute meetings.
3. No observers
Only essential staff should attend. The fewer people there are, the more engaged and
engaging they will be (plus, excluded employees will be able to go on with their work).
At Google, they have a 10 person per meeting rule.
4. No laptops
Notes should be taken by hand. A study done at Princeton University found that
students taking notes by hand vs. on laptop did significantly better in terms of
understanding fundamental concepts.
5. Always have a clear agenda
Even brainstorming or creative meetings should have an agenda, clear goals, or a list of
points that you need to address. You should be able to sum up your meeting’s purpose
in 5 words.
6. Be outcome-oriented
Don’t get stuck on structure and procedure. If the meeting meets its purpose, it was
succesful. More flexibility will keep your meetings from becoming stifling, rigid, and
7. Everyone should be prepared
Make it an office principle for everyone to know what they need to prepare for each
meeting. Everyone should come to the meeting prepared, so that important issues can
be adressed promptly. You can even send meeting agendas to attendees
8. Focus on facts, not opinions
Where possible, decision making should be fact or data based. This will prevent unre-
solvable arguments based on personal points of view or preference. Emphasising the
importance of facts and data can thus help prevent office conflict.
9. Change locations
A fun way to stimulate employees and prevent meetings from becoming repetitive and
dull is to change location every now and again. You can even decide to have an off-site
meeting once a month at a nearby coffee shop.
10. Assign tasks
Steve Jobs found that the most effective way to end a meeting, and ensure that it was
productive, is to assign direct responsibility for tasks to individual employees. Making
people publicly accountable for tasks will also increase the pressure for them to
complete their tasks by the next meeting.
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“Work expands to the time you schedule for it.”