Lately, I’m finding myself slightly obsessed with meetings. Several years ago, I wrote a blog about this titled, Death by Paper Cut, and since I only had about three regular readers at the time, I figured I would resurrect the concept as a compliment to last week's post on the Two Pizza Rule.
I am sure someone much more notable than me coined the phrase, “Death by Paper Cut”. Nevertheless, it describes how I sometimes feel when I am in a meeting that seems to have no purpose, other than giving attendees (such as myself) the opportunity to listen to themselves talk. Perhaps death is a bit of an extreme way to get out of a meeting like this. However, at times, I simply wish for a coma, or the ability to nap with my eyes open. While you might find my description a bit brash, I think everyone can admit to struggling through a meeting at least once in their life. Finding ways to combat the "meeting for the sake of meeting" issue is a challenge we all face.
So, in addition to the Two Pizza Rule, which could still bring six people together without a purpose, here are some insights that I have been given by others to create meetings with meaning.
1. No more agenda-less meetings: Meetings should have an agenda with requirements for each specified topic such as length of time for discussion (10 minutes, 20 minutes, etc.), or intended result (notification, discovery, discussion). In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not very good at this...but am committed to improving.
2. Permission to leave early: If you can get through an agenda with time to spare, by all means dismiss the group. Who doesn't love an extra 15 minutes in their day?
3. Measure your meetings: What is the ratio between internal (process, people, etc.) and external (clients, products) meetings? In other words, are the meetings you are having benefiting your needs only without considering the impact on your clients?
If you have tried and exhausted all of the above, one CEO says that you can always have attendees drink 16 ounces of water before each meeting, and can rest assured that nature will take care of bringing the meeting to a close.
Do you have any ideas to share that work for you besides “Death by Paper Cut”?