Let’s face it, most meetings suck. They suck our time, they suck our energy, they suck our productivity, they can even feel like they suck our very souls from our bodies.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Our entire business is built on the idea that meetings (and meeting space) don’t have to suck. In fact, when done well a meeting can actually FUEL your team’s productivity, energy, and impact.
There are surprisingly few books dedicated to how to have better meetings. Maybe we’ll write one someday. In the meantime, Meetings Suck by Cameron Herold is one that is a quick read and holds some great tips and philosophies to help you have meetings that, well, don’t suck so much. If you like the quotes, check out the whole book on Amazon.
Here are our favorite quotes from the book Meetings Suck:
“The problem isn’t that meetings suck; it’s that we suck at running them.”
“We aren’t training or equipping our people with the right skills and tools to run effective meetings. It’s like sending your kid into a Little League game without ever giving him a glove and playing catch in the backyard, or teaching him how to swing a bat, how to slide into second base to avoid a tag, or even the basic rules of how to play the game. Throwing your child into a game without any preparation will only lead to an embarrassment of errors and his hatred for the experience. And yet, that’s essentially what we do with our employees when we send them into meetings without training them.”
“Whether you attend or run a meeting you have to impact it in a positive, meaningful way. It’s more than walking into the room and sitting quietly at the table while the meeting happens around you. No, it requires you to have a give-and-take approach where you gain value from being present, and you give value by speaking up. This means you need to become comfortable raising your ideas, even if those ideas conflict with others in the room. “
“You can save a significant amount of time by having a proper agenda and allowing your people to opt in or out of meetings to which they don’t feel they can add value.”
“Regardless of rank, people need the freedom and permission to raise their hands during a meeting to say ‘I disagree,’ or ‘I think differently.’ And they must know their opinion will be heard — in fact, regardless of position, everyone on your team deserves to be heard. Everyone in a meeting should be considered equals.
On weekly goal setting meetings: “In my experience, this is the most consequential type of meeting because it allows the leader to set goals for the upcoming week and to establish a rhythm and focus for team members.”
“At the end of the day, you should treat a meeting like a job interview. You wouldn’t go into a job interview without being prepared. You wouldn’t go into a job interview late. you wouldn’t go into a job interview without putting your best foot forward.”
“You might have a dozen people able to add value to a meeting, but if you can git covered with five, then cover it with five.”
“When you’re creating your agenda, it’s helpful to ask two questions about attendees: 1. Do I need to have all these people I’m thinking about inviting? 2. Do these people need to sit through the entire meeting, or do I only need them for a portion of the meeting, on a particular subject.?”
“Imagine that everyone who shows up represents fifty dollars. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you invite the wrong two people, or two people come to an unnecessary meeting every day, then you’ve wasted one hundred dollars and prevented two people from providing more value by remaining at their desks and getting their work done. Say this happens once a day; that’s one hundred dollars a day, multiplied by 250 operating days. That is $25,000 a year that disappeared because you invited the wrong people to a meeting. If this goes on for years then it could cost your company hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s only if you’re inviting two people wrongly. Imagine if the majority of people attending meetings in the company shouldn’t be?”
“‘No agenda, no attenda,’ is my motto.”
“Keep your agenda simple, short, and sweet. It should be so brief that it could be written on a Post-It Note.”
“All meeting styles have pros and cons, but miscommunication and misplaced expectations cause the cons. As the organizer of a meeting, it’s incumbent upon you to communicate clearly and set the right expectations for your team. And if you’re attending, know what you’re walking into.”
“In general, meetings and obligations tend to fill the space you give them. Estimate how long you think a meeting, or task, will take, and then cut it in half. By limiting the time, you increase your productivity, maximize efficiency, and implement a more highly profitable system of time management.”
Check out our #1 tip on how to have your Best Meeting Ever.
Check out our favorite quotes from one of our favorite books, The Power of Moments.