The Sotto Voce of Experience

Seth Grodin writes about Getting serious about your meeting problem:

If you’re serious about solving your meeting problem, getting things done and saving time, try this for one week. If it doesn’t work, I ll be happy to give you a full refund.

  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. I’m serious.
  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. Just a simple box where everyone can write a number. Watch what happens.
  9. If you’re not adding value to a meeting, leave. You can always read the summary later.

Even though I have some fear the results could be disastrous, I would love to try this at faculty meetings.

[In preparing for my blog redesign, I found draft blog posts that somehow never made it to publication. This is one of them. Original draft 3/26/2009, but this one is timeless.]

2011: The pedant in me wants to know how someone can be “more than two minutes later than the last person to the meeting” other than by being the only person who doesn’t  turn up at all. 

See also How to Run A Meeting (7/16/10).

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4 Responses to The Sotto Voce of Experience

  1. Just me says:

    “Last” doesn’t always mean “final.” It can also mean “previous.” The last person to walk into my office was my partner, but he will not be the final person to ever walk into my office.

  2. “Last” means “previous”? And I though I was the liberal when it came to construing texts!

  3. Sam says:

    You live in a world where “last” does not also mean previous? Seriously?

    So you commonly ask the question, “what did you do the previous week?” and show befuddlement when someone says “You should’ve seen the LAST guy who worked here!”

    You’ve been way too serious for too long Froomkin.

  4. Too many weeks drafting cross-examination questions at a tender age.

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