Shall we schedule a meeting about the meeting?

This has been doing the rounds for the past couple of days & just had to get my 2 cents down on it. We’ve all nearly been killed by powerpoint, seen ramblings, agenda’s written on the back of envelopes, poorly planned get together’s without purpose etc etc.

The C.O.M.A app signals when a meeting needs to be shut down. Just open the app, set the number of attendees and the average hourly bill rate, hit start, and let the app show you how much money is spent, or wasted, if the whole thing seems pointless.

Taking meeting efficiency to an extreme is Marissa Mayer at Google. This post is old now but has some good stuff in re: micro-meetings, break outs & ruthlessly keeping time.

The account teams that I’ve worked in the meeting should have 4 basic functions:

– to create and fuse a team (often with shitloads of booze)

– to impart information (briefings, creative presentation, preproduction meetings)

– to ideate

– to collect information & make decisions (research debriefs, media, status etc)

Agencies are notoriously bad on not agreeing an agenda up front either with colleagues or with clients. Deciding well in advance what the objective of the meeting actually is & making sure you meet that objective is basically rule number one.

The worst thing on any meeting agenda. Any Other Business. If it’s important – get it on the agenda & make sure someone gets it done. Otherwise it’s likely to result in someone getting stiffed & you picking up the pieces.

Try holding meetings at the end of the day rather than the beginning and see how much faster they go. People often want to get home & morning sessions can sometimes drift into digress/chat etc

Start all meetings on time. Never wait. And don’t recap. Latecomers can gather what they need to from others after the meeting.

Weird timing. I’ve tried this a few times to improve punctuality. Try 15.15 rather than 1500 & see if it makes a difference.

Schedule meetings far enough in advance – but not too far – so no-one can say they had something else on. Confirm the day before.

Each agenda point should result in an action.

Stand up. Set a clock. Be uncomfortable. Or try this app. 

Make meetings lively & memorable. But not like David Brent.  Lighten the mood. Change the location. Be confident & flexible. Not formal but firm. And most importantly -make them fun.


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