The Meeting as We Know it is Dead!

BusinessI have always hated attending company meetings. They are such a colossal waste of time! Meetings provide endless interruptions to the flow of the day. No one likes them and nothing ever gets done because of them. At best a compromise is made and then it may or may not be acted upon. Finally someone agrees with me…

Earlier today I attended the webinar “Embrace Change with Modern Meetings” featuring Al Pittampalli author of “Read this Before Our Next Meeting” and best-selling author Seth Godin. The webinar covered how is critical to change the way meetings are being held and create a “Modern Meeting.”

Al suggests the following steps to create a “Modern Meeting”:
  1. As a leader you make careful, responsible decisions. Usually one person should be responsible for a decision.
  2. Make the decision ahead of time and then have a meeting about if the meeting is needed, as a last resort. Meetings are to support decisions not questions.
  3. It is always better to make the wrong decision than not to make one at all.
  4. Often a conversation can replace a meeting. Start a conversation with someone about the item you want to cover, not about sports or the weather.
  5. Limit the number of people who are invited to a meeting to those that are absolutely necessary to create the desired results.
  6. Meetings should not be about providing information. Send emails and memos of important information in advance. Have an agenda and make sure attendees are prepared. There is a sample agenda at ModernMeetingStandard.com/Resources. If someone is not prepared or late, cancel the meeting or send them home.
  7. Meetings should be fast and produce actions. What is the action plan, who is assigned to each action item, when will they be complete.
  8. Do not use broadcast emails. If you do an email, bcc everyone so that when they respond it is not sent to everyone in the main email. (Hopefully someday the broadcast email will die off too!)
  9. Debate the decision at the meeting. if you are not willing to alter your decision, don’t have a meeting.
  10. Meetings should only cover conflict and coordination. Complicated projects should use the meeting to confirm that the team is working well together.
  11. Meetings should never be held as an emergency, they should be planned and scheduled.
  12. Occasionally hold brainstorming sessions that are fun, active, timed and all written down to support the Modern Meeting.

No more attending too many bad meetings for a living! By changing this one aspect of business we can change how projects get organized, how businesses make decisions on projects and how they get completed. By having fewer meetings it frees up time to actually get the work done and ultimately saves the business money.

In my business I focus on small group mettings or one-to-one meetings. I mainly use email and phone conversations, scheduling personal meetings as needed. I find this beneficial, as it is a more personal way of communicating with my customers. As business becomes global, it is only natural to change the ways of conducting business.

This was an amazing webinar about an equally amazing manifesto and topic. Finally there is a shift in how business is being done and it is being led by talented people like Seth Godin and Al Pittampalli. I’m sure they have many more new ways of conducting business coming in the future. I for one, can’t wait.


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26 Responses to The Meeting as We Know it is Dead!

  1. Susan Plucknett says:

    Heather, thanks for posting this. I have sat through so many unproductive meetings in my work life it is ridiculous. The best companies that I have seen do exactly what you say, they make a clear decision, stick to it and rely on their most trusted staff in the process. Great ideas and advice to be more productive and build fabulous teams.

    • Susan, thanks for your comment. I agree completely, hopefully the “Modern Meeting” everyone embraces “Modern Meetings”. These ideas and advice aren’t mine (I wish they were), I am just spreading the word with the hope that they take off. This is a review of a webinar I participated in by Al Pittampalli author of “Read this Before Our Next Meeting” and and best-selling author Seth Godin called “Embrace Change with Modern Meetings”. It was such an amazing topic I wanted to share it. 😉

  2. Oh Heather, I so hated the corporate meetings. Very little accomplished. Thank you for sharing this information. I guess the question I have is how do we get this information into the corporate world?

  3. Tina Pruitt says:

    Yes, I hated meetings when I was still working in the corporate/government world – they were truly a waste of time and prevented workers from getting the REAL WORK done! Luckily, as a Program Manager from 2005 – 2011, I eliminated almost ALL of the meetings for my specific program – best thing I ever did! We actually got stuff DONE, instead of just talking about it…I guess I was ‘modern’ before it was even hip!
    xo, Tina

  4. Jeanette says:

    Sounds like a Great webinar! Invite me to a ‘modern meeting’ any day!

    I honestly can’t tell you how many unproductive ‘complaint fests’ I’ve sat in that all too often ended with no clear plan of action. I am a firm believer that if we can use our energy to be unproductive at a meeting, then we should surely be able to redirect our energy to being productive!

    Thanks so much for passing on what you learned!

  5. You’re welcome Jeanette! This is just one of the many areas in life that need to change. You’re right, we should be able to redirect our energy to being productive (and positive). 😉

  6. Heather, thanks for recapping the webinar tips for us! I especially resonate with #1, 5, 7 and 10. I think the larger the organization the easier it is to find yourself in time-wasting meetings. When I was a management consultant, most of our meetings addressed conflict and coordination (#10). But, in other corporate and nonprofit work , the results from my own experience have been mixed. As a coach and solopreneur I don’t attend many meetings, but I do find that it is sometimes easy to mismanage time when it comes to networking and phone chats. I need to continue to stay vigilant. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Laurie, I’m glad you resonated with the post. I am sure many people do, yet we still go to the meetings. Hopefully this idea of a “modern meeting” will someday become the norm. 😉

  7. Oh, the dreaded corporate meeting! My husband and I regularly lament that no work ever gets done because there are so many meetings. Luckily I left that world behind but I still struggle with the occasional “old-school” client (her words, not mine) that insists on meeting in person so they can describe their design concept in great detail while I …what, I don’t know, watch their facial expressions and how they match up with hand gestures? Since I work with clients all over the world I have a hard time believing that an in-person client meeting is ever REALLY necessary. Need a surcharge for that….I always say I’m going to institute one but I never do.

    • Thanks for your comment Jessica! I have left that world behind too. I do most of my coaching 1-to-1 and have group seminars and classes that I teach. I don’t miss the meetings at all. 😉

  8. Laura says:

    OK first of all, I LOVE This picture and have SO BEEN THERE (more recently than I care to admit!) and I love this line: Meetings should only cover conflict and coordination. Complicated projects should use the meeting to confirm that the team is working well together.

    I am sending this blog to my CEO right now to get on this new Modern Meeting approach, thanks!

    • Glad you liked it Laura! Feel free to send it to anyone you think will benefit from this idea. Maybe it will catch on faster that way. If that doesn’t work you could always buy the book and place it on peoples desks anonymously. 😉

  9. Scott Powers says:

    Oh man, there was nothing worse than getting sucked into a corporate meeting that was of little relevance to me. I like #7, fast and efficient with clear actions. This also sets the tone for how we want to actions to be taken.

  10. Suki says:

    The worst meeting that I had was the meeting in the government world in a big room with a long table and about 15 people. It was really a waste of time. Every one tried to show off their power. So there were no decision made, it was just arguing among them. I’m glad that I don’t do that anymore. I agree with a small group or one-to-one meetings, they are the most effective and more productive way. It’s only take me 10-30 mins.

    • Suki, that meeting sounds horrible! That is usually what happens, a lot of arguing, and a big power struggle, meanwhile nothing really gets done. I’m glad you don’t have to deal with that anymore. 😉

  11. Yvette says:

    Heather the picture says it all!
    Oh man, I just got a flash back of all of the unproductive meetings I use to attend while working as a consultant! The only good thing was the free food & coffee! I mean we use to have a meeting to setup a meeting, if you know what I mean..LOL Such a waste of time if not plan correctly. These are great suggestions especially #7! Great post.

    • Thanks Yvette, I’m glad you liked the post! It’s nice to be a solopreneur and not have to worry about that anymore. Now I conduct my meetings and coaching my way. Sounds like you don’t have to deal with that environment anymore either. 😉

  12. Love the photo! Hilarious! I remember when I used to be in all day meetings and I would feel like the people in the photo. Like seriously! Your suggestions are great. Every corporate company or company in general needs to read this. SERIOUSLY! OMG! Good stuff woman! Thanks for creating this.

    xoxo
    Alara

  13. Sabra Sasson says:

    This is a great blog post. I know I used to attend some meetings at prior jobs and they were such a bore. I often wondered why I was sitting at the meetings when the subject didn’t affect the particular work I was doing. The best meetings were the ones as described in 7 in your list above – when we discussed each project, briefly touched upon the status and then next steps. It was quick, relevant and kept everyone focused.

    • Thanks for your comments Sabra! I recently sat in a meeting for 5 hours with one 5 minute break. They gave us a binder that was a manual of sorts and then proceeded to read the entire manual for 5 hours. What made it worse is that the manual covered three different types of positions and I was only in one of them as was everyone else in the room. To top it all off the meeting started at 7am and I had only 3 hours of sleep the night before. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper! This just has to stop! I felt just like the photo I used for this article. 😉

  14. It was such an amazing topic I wanted to share it. Sounds like you don’t have to deal with that environment anymore either.

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