Meetings: Why It Hasn’t Worked So Far

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Meetings are long and expensive

It has to consume the standard default: 30 or 60 minutes. Meeting without 30+ minutes is no meeting at all.

In reality, there is no meeting that’s an hour long. If you’re going to schedule a meeting that lasts one hour and invite four people, then it’s a four-hour meeting.

Meeting scheduling is complicated

PM: Let’s set up a meeting to discuss product roadmap.

TL: Sorry, the only time that works for everyone is next week.

PM: I guess we’ll wait for a week.

TL: Can you include my boss Sammy in the invite? I’m sure she will want to be at that meeting.

PM: OK, moving this meeting to next Thursday to accommodate with Sammy’s schedule.

People are running late because meetings are running over

A quick stand up meeting becomes a long ramble.

Not everyone shows up on time.

MA: Let’s give them a few more minutes before we start.

Latecomer: Sorry, you may have covered it in the beginning, but why can’t we do…?

Information is part of the agenda.

Meeting Anchor: Let’s spend 15 minutes on this presentation.

After 15 minutes…

MA: Let me wrap up quickly.

Last five minutes…

MA: Sorry, I have to run to my next meeting, please send me your feedback on email.

“Wait, what?” — How will we collaborate asynchronously? Well, this was an expensive meeting without any outcomes. 😕”

Meeting starts with lengthy refreshers

MA: I hope you all got a chance to review the information in advance — but let me give a quick refresher and, also bring Tom up to speed.

Meetings lack focus

Chatty Patty doesn’t shut up, and everyone else is checking out.

People are “thinking out loud.” That’s great; I would build on that.

MA: Let’s park it. Can we come back to the topic of discussion here?


Laptop Larries: I brought my laptop to take notes but, I’m actually following slack or secretly catching up on email.

LL: Pardon me, what?

They are not working, and they are not really listening, which means they are not productive.

Mr. Curious

MC: I’m just happy to be here. Must be an important meeting.

“Why is Mr. Curious here? He doesn’t have anything to add, who invited him to this meeting 🤔”

The loudest voice in the room

Introvert Sam: I haven’t spoken in the entire meeting and waiting for my turn.

Ten minutes later…

Sam: I must say something.

MA: Let’s recap.

Sam: Why was I even invited?

Meeting notes

MA: Tim, would you mind taking notes?

Tim: Sure, happy to do it.

Curt: Did he capture what I just said? Well, at least I said it, that’s more important.

“Who is taking notes when Tim is speaking?”

You can either take notes or participate. A notetaker must be unbiased and attentive.

Meeting blur

The increasing number of meetings exceeds our ability to remember what was said by whom, when, and where.

Sally gets invited to a lot of meetings, and as the representative, she must report back to the team. What happened? What’s happening next?

Everyone on her team knows this meeting happened, but only she knows what happened. Further, a lot of asynchronous conversations happened outside the meeting, but nothing got captured.

Two months later…

Larry: Why did we make that decision?

Sally: I think it was because…

Don’t forget recurring meetings

Recurring meeting forces a team to meet on a day every week at a given time.

Recurring meetings are usually a waste of time because you’re predicting your ability that you will always have something important to discuss on a regular basis.

Stop it!

Let me know your thoughts if you have been to meetings about meetings 🙈

And if you want to help evolve meetings — please let me know.

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