How To Have More Productive Meetings

If you’re a regular meeting attendee, presenter, onlooker or minute-taker, you’ll know all about the importance of setting agendas, sticking to the agenda, keeping an eye on the clock and summarising the agenda to ensure your meeting is worthwhile. But here are some slightly less obvious top tips you may not have come across before to make your meetings more productive than ever before.


1. The two pizza rule

No this doesn’t mean you must have two pizzas present at every meeting. Unfortunately.

Amazon operate a two pizza rule for all meetings, meaning that if a lunch of two pizzas would leave a number of people in your meeting hungry, you have likely invited too many non-essential employees along and should try to keep the gorup to a smaller size to stay on track.

2. Change the scenery

Is there anything worse than trudging over to the same seat in the same meeting room every Monday morning to kick-start the week? Try changing it up to inspire new perspectives and keep attendees on their toes.

This can be as small a change as rearranging the room so everyone faces in the other direction or as adventurous as you like! Think a walk and talk, a sit down on the patch of grass outside your office, hire a meeting room at your local hotel or business centre or just nip to the coffee shop next door. Fresh scenery = fresh ideas.

3. Ditch PowerPoint

Jeff Bezos at Amazon banned PowerPoint from all meetings. Not only can presentation slides reduce the expression and vigour of the presenter, but it becomes all to easy to “zone out” when faced with a glowing screen that resembles the television you fell asleep in front of the night before.

4. The “Idea Parking Lot”

Melissa Thompson, Founder of HarcourtHealth, advises the use of something she entitles the Idea Parking Lot. Have a resident rambler or someone who consistently goes off on a tangent at your meetings? Use a flipchart to note down those ideas with a view to return to them at the end or privately outside of the meeting. This enables all attendees to stay on track and within the time constraints allocated.

5. The two minute silence break

Author, Alexander Kjerulf has found silence to be an ideal way to encourage deep thinking and ideas, right in the midst of a meeting. It gives everyone the chance to mull over unexpected or “out there” ideas or proposals and contribute valuable input. Not speaking for a two minute period during a meeting sounds odd but can generate useful insight that could take a lot longer to think about outside the meeting or be completely forgotten about altogether.

6. D.R.I.

Utilised by Steve Jobs at Apple, at the end of every meeting, each task was allocated to a Directory Responsible Individual (D.R.I.). Ensuring public accountability inevitably leads to the successful completion of tasks; nobody wants to be singled out in the follow up meeting!

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