Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When not to have a meeting

I met Hugh MacLeod many years ago at London Geek Dinners when he was living in London and just getting into the whole social media thing. I have one of his limited edition posters too from his time at Stormhoek wine. More recently, I’ve signed up to his Gapingvoid newsletter. Yes, it serves to promote his artwork and business services that are both for sale, but I really enjoy the pithy commentary and the cartoons that he shares. It’s one of the few newsletters that has escaped And today’s really struck a chord with me. It’s about when not to have a meeting.

  • there's no clear solution and the problem requires speed, not consensus
  • more than half the people in the meeting will end up spending most of it playing with their phones
  • no one is leading the meeting
  • no one knows the agenda
  • there aren't enough constraints
  • you're holding the meeting just because you've always held a meeting at this time
  • most people are in it for the snacks
  • you don't really need anyone else's ideas i.e., it's not for brainstorming
  • you're facing down a dragon

These are all good tips for when not to have in-company meetings. And even for one-to-one meetings, or ‘catch-ups’, I think it’s clear to know the agenda – i.e. what’s in it for either party. Sure, it’s nice to catch up now and then, and that can be reason enough (as long as that’s clear), but if you have a lot of contacts (and some of us have met a lot of people along the way), catching-up with even 5% of them is simply not feasible. So next time you think you need a meeting, think on whether you really need a meeting or not!

Source: Gapingvoid newsletter

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