Based in Bangalore, India, InfiniteWalk is a blog by Umakant Jani. His posts explore business, technology, startups, entrepreneurship, leadership, management and quotes by influential human beings.


He wants this world to be a better place because he is here.
Better Meetings

I hate meetings. I hate meetings as much as I hate religious people. Well, research from Harvard Business School & London school of Economics shows;

  • Top executives spend upwards of 18 hours per week - third of their working week - in meetings.
  • Estimated 25-50% of meeting time considered wasted

Research shows the cost of Unnecessary meeting to Business in terms of wasted salary hours as $37 Billion. According to one survey, about two-thirds of meeting run out of time before participants can make important decisions. Not surprisingly, 85 percent of the executives surveyed are dis-satisfied with the efficiency and effectiveness of meetings at their companies.

"But hey, you already know that!"

I am not here to complain more about meetings but make a suggestion to make them better. Here are few effective things you can do before, during and after the meetings to make them more effective.

Before The Meeting

1. Research the problem before meeting, save meetings only for solution. Have a clear purpose and agenda for the meeting. Without purpose of the meeting its just an aimless social gatherings rather than productive working sessions.

2. 30 Minutes Meeting: thirty minutes is the maximum time you can tolerate people talk or people can tolerate you talking. Implement my concept Five For Each, Five for All: make sure everyone gets chance to speak only for five minutes and the last conclusion five minutes for everyone to contribute or understand the output of the meeting.

3. Meeting MondayNo Meeting Thursday and Review Friday week: having the important meeting on Monday to set the exceptions and priorities for your employee. But take one day of week and make sure you don’t have any meeting scheduled on that day. You will work off better without them, why not make No Meeting Thursday to make list of the progress and to just complete the works so that you can finish the week by the review of work on Friday.

4. Five People Meetings: always try to squeeze the meeting to five people or only to people who are required for the meeting. Here are my classification of the number of people to meeting type;

  1. 1-5 — Meeting
  2. 6-10 — Brainstorming
  3. 10-15 — Knowledge Transfer/Training
  4. 15+ — Social Gatherings

5. Assign an DRI for every task or project: According to Fortunes’s Adam Laszinky, Apple breeds accountability at meeting by having a Directly Responsible Individual whose name appears next to all of the agenda items they are responsible for. With every task tagged, there’s rarely any confusion about who should be getting what done. A common phrase heard around Apple when someone is trying to learn the right contact on a project: “Who’s the DRI on that?"

During The Meeting

  1. 5 minutes to before meeting, make sure everything is ready.
  2. Let the person responsible start the meeting. And make sure everyone contributes to their assigned 5 minutes.
  3. No Mobile Phone Meeting: your time is very important and so does others. Make sure you keep your mobile phone silent and not use if you can. And ask everyone to come with the notes. Nothing but notes. Everything else is just distraction

After The Meeting

  1. Attendees should walk away with concrete next steps or action items
  2. Ask for date and time of the completion of the action items from each attendees. And follow up with an call or email for the status.
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