(ISBN 9781633692176)

Preface: The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings

Section 1: Prepare

Chapter 1: Do You Really Need to Hold That Meeting?

Decision tree to help quickly determine if holding a meeting makes the most sense.

Chapter 2: Stop Calling Every Conversation a "Meeting"

When both a 500-attendee event and a two-person discussion are referred to as "meetings," it's difficult to suss out a gathering's true purpose and to know how to prepare to make it successful. In order to have fewer, more purposeful meetings, we need a more robust vocabulary to describe them.

Meetings with just two people are conversations. 1:1 discussions need not be as rigorous--they aren't weapons of mass interruption, and humans are naturally good at them. So keep conversations casual, and hold them as often as you like.

Group work sessions: Most meetings involve planning and coordinating the work, not executing it, but sometimes people--writers, programmers, mathematicians--do huddle around a laptop or whiteboard to do real work together.

Brainstorm: Meetings where the primary goal is to generate ideas. Since these sessions are designed to maximize creativity, it's a good idea to play a warm-up game, get people standing and active, and give people permission to have fun--free of judgement and criticism.

Convenience meetings: Called primarily because managers have information to disseminate, saving boss' time by wasting the time of their colleagues.

Formality meetings: Rather than considering an issue and asking, "Is a meeting the best way to address it?" we treat the event as a given and ask "What issues do we need to address at this meeting?" This ensures we alwys find things to discuss, no matter how trivial they are.

Social meetings: Meetings called under the guise of collaboration or alignment when it's really connection we're after. Connection is a laudable goal, but meetings are a pretty lousy way to foster it; instead, invite people to a team-building activity, a retreat, or a party, but make it optional.

Decision-making meeting: A misnomer as it implies that the meeting itself is making the decision; but meetings don't make decisions, leaders do.
* High-stakes: You want to facilitate honest debate. Research shows that moderate task conflict leads to more accurate decisions, so demand candor, and encourage disagreement.
* Lesser stakes: the goal isn't to slow down, but to speed up. Propose a plan for moving forward, and focus on generating buy-in. Allow for disagreement and be prepared to revise your plan if participants offer good reasons. But aim for quick resolution so you can spend most of the time coordinating implementation.

Chapter 3: If Yuo Can't Say What Your Meeting Will Accomplish, You Shouldn't Have It

Ask the same two questions:

Your first step when planning an important meeting should be to draft an initial set of goals based on the answers to those two questions. "Begin with the end in mind." Three to five short bullet points or sentences that articulate what you want to accomplish is more than enough.

But this can take time, could require multiple iterations before you have a straw-model set of objectives that are ready to be tested with other key meeting stakeholders, who should then be asked to review the list and identify any missing or unnecessary goals. Once everyone is aligned, agree and communicate to all other attendees that these objectives are locked in.

Here are some sample objectives from different types of meetings:

Chapter 4: How to Design an Agenda for an Effective Meeting

Chapter 5: The Key to Shorter, Better Meetings

Chapter 6: The 50-Minute Meeting

Chapter 7: The Magic of 30-Minute Meetings

Chapter 8: Meetings Need a Shot Clock

Chapter 9: Are There Too Many People in Your Meeting?

Section 2: Conduct

Chapter 10: Before a Meeting, Tell Your Team That Silence Denotes Agreement

Chapter 11: Establish Ground Rules

Chapter 12: Reach Group Decisions During Meetings

Chapter 13: The Right Way to Cut People Off in Meetings

Chapter 14: Dealing with People Who Derail Meetings

Chapter 15: Refocus a Meeting After Someone Interrupts

Section 3: Participate

Chapter 16: Polite Ways to Decline a Meeting Invitation

Chapter 17: How to Interject in a Meeting

Chapter 18: Stuck in a Meeting from Hell? Here's What to Do

Chapter 19: 7 Ways to Stop a Meeting from Dragging On

Chapter 20: When Your Boss is Terrible at Leading Meetings

Section 4: Close and Follow Up

Chapter 21: The Right Way to End a Meeting

Chapter 22: Don't End a Meeting Without Doing These 3 Things

Section 5: Specific Types of Meetings

Chapter 23: What Everyone Should Know About Running Virtual Meetings

Chapter 24: How to Run a Great Virtual Meeting

Chapter 25: Conduct a Meeting of People from Different Cultures

Chapter 26: Making Global Meetings Work

Chapter 27: Give Your Standing Meetings a Makeover

Chapter 28: How to Do Walking Meetings Right

Chapter 29: Stand-Up Meetings Don't Work for Everybody

Chapter 30: Leadership Summits that Work

Appendix A: Meeting Prep Checklist

Appendix B: Sample Agendas

Appendix C: Meeting Follow-Up Checklist

Appendix D: Sample Follow-Up Memo

Appendix E: Digital Tools to Make Your Next Meeting More Productive

Tags: reading   management   meetings   hbr  

Last modified 14 April 2023