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Meetings: Elon Musk Hates Them and You’re Probably Doing them Wrong

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If your colleagues ever find themselves sitting in a room or on a conference call, looking around, wondering what on Earth they’re doing there, they have likely found themselves in a meeting.

The BBC recently published an article stating that meetings are a large contributor to Britain’s low productivity. Industry experts such as Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk suggest that we may be wasting our time turning boardrooms into bored-rooms. Musk recently proposed leaving meetings as soon as they aren’t productive. “It’s not rude to leave. It’s rude to make someone stay and waste their time,” he says.

Okay, so we aren’t all worth nearly 20 billion USD and likely can’t just walk out of a bad meeting because we “don’t find it useful”. But many of us likely have wanted to and that is a problem.

Bad Meetings

The BBC attributes their qualms with meetings to lack of agenda, troubleshooting conference calls and ending meetings with a lack of action points. But, as Bookboon’s industry leaders tell us, meetings aren’t the issue. It’s how you’re running them.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos also has some suggestions: “We try to create teams that are no larger than can be fed by two pizzas,” he says. “We call that the two-pizza team rule.”

The two-pizza team rule goes like this:

  • Keep meetings small. If two pizzas can’t feed everyone in the meeting, you don’t need more pizza. You need a smaller meeting.
  • Avoid meetings before 10am. The pizza rule applies here too. If a member of your team is eating pizza before 10am, that may be a sign they need a different type of meeting.
  • And under no circumstances will anyone even utter the words “Powerpoint Presentation”. Plus, if your meeting is the right size, you’ll have a pizza slice in each hand and no room left to hold a clicker. Check out 

Good Solutions

Keeping the pizza rule in mind, the next step to ensuring the meetings you run are focused, outcome-orientated and action-based is training yourself and your staff on how to run an effective meeting.

In Running Effective Meetings by Sean McPheat, the Founder and Managing Director of management development specialists, MTD Training you will learn the main key considerations, skills and approaches to make sure that the meetings that you run are focused, outcome orientated and action-driven.

Before The Meeting

Before you get your team together make sure you determine the following:

  • Why are you holding a meeting? Are you discussing goals for the next quarter? Delegating training solutions? Or determining who keeps stealing the company toilet paper?
  • Scheduling the meeting. Remember you’re dealing with a group of people with different schedules, commitments, and peak productivity times. Tim is good for 4, but no later, but Julie has to drop her son off to his Yoga for Toddlers class by 5 and Dave is on US time. You will have to determine when and where works for everyone involved.
  •  Creating the meeting agenda. There is nothing that will get your team gazing at the clocks more than a meeting that was supposed to finish at 12 goes through lunch.

During The Meeting

Presentation is the single most influential activity in your career. Improving your ability to present yourself and your work will get your meeting moving and your team inspired. In 33 Steps to Great Presentations David Beckett will teach you and your team how to make your meetings so productive that Jeff Bezos will give you a thumbs-up and even Elon Musk won’t be able to leave the room.

33 Steps to Great Presentations

Develop your presentation skills three minutes at a time with our eBook 33 Steps to Great Presentations.

Read now