3 Simple Keys to Productive Meetings

A recent NY Times interview with Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, a firm that rents textbooks online and by mail, brought some valuable but simple tips about meeting discipline to mind.


1. Leave technology on the other side of the door.

Be present, engage in hearty conversation.

Phones, texting, communicating outside of the room is not invited or allowed. (Yeah, I know … you’re thinking … I don’t do this, do I?)


2. Start and end meetings on time.

You’d think this would be obvious.

Not only does it respect the time commitments you ask from everyone … but it injects needed discipline into the agenda.

In my experience, ending a meeting on time is the biggest abuse … because the meeting is loosely planned and poorly organized … and the leader insists on making sure the agenda is covered … and you never get out of there. Schedule another meeting, if needed, but get in and get out on time.

3. Set a realistic agenda.

If you respect #2, this will be much easier but you need to leave a little room for productive digression and fresh ideas.

Unless you’re at death’s door, leave the least important item off the agenda to provide a little breathing room.

Rosensweig also offers a new idea which I like.

Start each executive meeting by asking each attendee to share one personal and one professional thing that’s on his/her mind. It’s a cool tool to create a little team bonding, build trust and really identify the distractions that are holding back progress.

What have you learned about meeting discipline? Have you adopted any proven tips and techniques that make these “necessary evils” work better?

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