Productivity · Time management

What tools or processes do you use to run productive meetings?

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

June 23rd, 2015

I have bias towards more action, less talk but sometimes you do have to meet. What are the rules, processes, software you use with your team to keep meetings productive and action oriented. I've been cutting normally 1 hr meeting to 45 minutes and find it just means we get to the point faster.  What are others using for both 1:1s and bigger meetings?

Jan Aken The Cleaning System - Oplossingen & advies in schoonmaakbeheer

June 23rd, 2015

Jessica, why not try the Scandinavian way of meeting?
a. no body sits down
b. no PC, smart phones or tablets
c. one whiteboard
d. tables are only for coffee, tea or water.

If you need to bring a PC to meeting, you should at least have bulshit-bingo on it to keep everyone on their toes ...

Mamie Stewart Founder & CEO at Meeteor, Speaker, Change-maker

June 25th, 2015

I just wrote a blog post on practices my company uses to make our meetings not only productive but also enjoyable. Note: We're building a meeting management software that helps teams use these practices and are currently in private beta.

Jessica - if you're interested early access, message me and I can show you a demo.

Please ignore the product description on our current marketing site - its message is outdated and we're working on updating it now.

Dennis Roche Co-Founder at Burbio.com

June 23rd, 2015

Hi Jessica - there is a book by Verne Harnisch called Mastering the Rockefeller Habits - the theme of the entire book is how to manage fast growth firms.  He has a great chapter on meeting frequency and type - the purpose of the daily meeting, the weekly meeting, how they differ in structure.   It was written for fast growth companies of all types but works very well for a tech start up - because the framework around meeting frequency and style is all about how fast information is changing and is NOT unique to, say, a developing software or running a sales organization.     I found the book reinforced lessons I had already experienced in running fast growth organizations and would highly recommend looking at it for your question.  

Ernest Lupinacci Founder & CEO of Ernest Industries

June 24th, 2015

1. a clock; seriously - meetings must start and end on time... to quote nurse diesel in HIGH ANXIETY "those who are late do NOT get fruitcup..." 2. an agenda - what is the literal and figurative purpose for the meeting? is it to discuss or disseminate information? it should be one or the other... 3. avoid trying to "solve it in the room..." - brainstorming sessions are foley; well-thought out ideas could be shared in meetings, or the fodder for ideas can be shared in meetings... but then let people go off and think/work on the problem alone or in smaller groups... 4. no phones, no computers, no multi-tasking... 5. no meeting should ever be more than 30 minutes long... 6. avoid power-point presentations... i've seen people spend a week putting together a power-point presentation that takes an hour to present... when the information could have be expressed in 10 minutes... sent from my iWatch 2

Daniel Eberhard CEO, Koho

June 23rd, 2015

IMO: I wouldn't approach it from a fixed angle - reducing the length of all meetings.  Some meetings deserve more time, some less. I found a lot of value in just saying no to more meetings, which allows me to drive more value in the meetings I do have. 

Then there is the more obvious ones: come in with a clear structure/objective. Have someone in the room who understands those clearly and can push the conversation back on track when things wander. A lot of overlap with Brad Feld's Startup Boards - http://www.amazon.ca/Startup-Boards-Getting-Board-Directors/dp/1118443667

David Hassell CEO, 15Five

June 23rd, 2015

Check out worklife.com. It's transformed the way we keep meetings on track. Just awesome. David -- David Hassell CEO 15Five c: 917-560-3274 e: david@15five.com a: http://about.me/dhassell Read our blog! | Follow us on Twitter! | Like us on Facebook! See why Fast Company calls 15Five "The 15 Most Important Minutes of the Work Week"

John Windsor

June 23rd, 2015

Great start, Jessica, but Daniel is right - there's only so far you can cut the time, unless you also cut back on what you're trying to cover. David's suggestion of Worklife is a good one, as having some kind of structured tool can be a big help. If you'd like something that provides even more guidance, and that allows you to set up best practices for all your meetings, try my app, Peak Meetings. It's like GTD for meetings.

Jorge Cortell Founder & CEO @Kanteron

June 24th, 2015

I have been using this for a few weeks, and so far I'm loving it: https://www.worklife.com/ -- *Jorge Cortell* Founder & CEO, Kanteron Systems[image: photo]UK mobile: (+44) 07736 881820 <(+44)%2007736%20881820> Email: jcortell@kanteron.com Skype: jorge-cortell Website: http://www.kanteron.com Address: Kanteron Systems TechHub @ Google Campus, 4-5 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX (United Kingdom) USA cell: (+1) 3474589329 Spain mobile: (+34) 671078087 Digital fingerprint: C4F8502802F7410B https://keybase.io/jorgecortell

Rich Goidel Business strategist, group facilitator, agile practitioner and corporate muse

June 24th, 2015

Liza, I respectfully disagree with your sentiment about not having regular meetings. The fact that meetings become routine and "reporting" mechanisms doesn't mean they're not needed, it's a warning sign that they're not being planned and/or executed well.


Regular, productive meetings keep everyone aligned on strategy and consistently bubble up action planning on what's really needed. This is especially critical to young companies, where the landscape can shift on almost a daily basis.


I invite everyone to read "Death by Meeting," by Patrick Lencioni. This is a seminal book about the purpose and format of productive meetings. It might actually change your life.


Also, some shameless self-promotion, download my free Illustrated Guide to Great Meetings for an overview of solid, time-tested meeting mechanics.

Kristian Kalsing Product Marketing Executive

June 24th, 2015

I'm a huge believer in a rhythm of effective meetings being the key to successful execution. Think of it as the heartbeat that runs your company. Over the last six months my team has been experimenting with a cadence of Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Quarterly meetings as described in 'Scaling Up' by Verne Harnish. It takes some practice to get it right, but the effect is huge. We're quickly becoming a high performing team because of it. There are also some great resources here: