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Tips for Minimizing Meetings from Seth Godin

  • The Find: If your team is drowning in meetings, Seth Godin has some suggestions for how to signal time in the conference room should be kept to a minimum.
  • The Source: The blog of marketing guru and author Seth Godin.
The Takeaway: Time and brain cells wasted in useless discussion is a common complaint in offices, but a manager's fate does not have to be a slow death by painful and unproductive meetings, Godin insists. On his blog, he's offering nine suggestions for how managers can signal to their teams that they are serious about limiting the time spent in the conference room and serious about getting something out of every minute spent in group consultation. His ideas:
  1. Understand that all problems are not the same. So why are your meetings? Does every issue deserve an hour? Why is there a default length?
  2. Schedule meetings in increments of five minutes. Require that the meeting organizer have a truly great reason to need more than four increments of realtime face time.
  3. Require preparation. Give people things to read or do before the meeting, and if they don't, kick them out.
  4. Remove all the chairs from the conference room.
  5. If someone is more than two minutes later than the last person to the meeting, they have to pay a fine of $10 to the coffee fund.
  6. Bring an egg timer to the meeting. When it goes off, you're done. Not your fault, it's the timer's.
  7. The organizer of the meeting is required to send a short email summary, with action items, to every attendee within ten minutes of the end of the meeting.
  8. Create a public space (either a big piece of poster board or a simple online page) that allows attendees to rate meetings and their organizers on a scale of 1 to 5 in terms of usefulness.
  9. If you're not adding value to a meeting, leave. You can always read the summary later.
The Question: How do you keep meetings focused and productive?

(Image of meeting boredom by [niv], CC 2.0)

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