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Meeting Rules

The idea of rules about how to have meetings isn’t new. Here’s a somewhat novel list from a company called Urban Airship:

0. Do we really need to meet?

1. Schedule a start, not an end to your meeting – its over when its over, even if that’s just 5 minutes.

2. Be on time!

3. No multi-tasking … no device usage unless necessary for meeting

4. If you’re not getting anything out of the meeting, leave

5. Meetings are not for information sharing – that should be done before the meeting via email and/or agenda

6. Who really needs to be at this meeting?

7. Agree to action items, if any, at the conclusion of the meeting

8. Don’t feel bad about calling people out on any of the above; it’s the right thing to do.

This list sparked a few thoughts for me. The first rule is technically challenging with the existing calendaring systems. I’m sure that a small start-up can solve this, but if you’re at a company with a standard calendaring application, you pretty much have to select an end time. Of course, if you take rule 1 to heart, and combine it with rule 2, then you can only schedule one meeting a day.

Rule 5 is problematic because people consume information in different ways. In many cases, a conversation is the best way to ensure that information is received. Is that a meeting? Is it a meeting if it involves 2 people? More? I believe it’s the communicator’s responsibility to ensure their information is understood, and a meeting is often the best way to get people to focus on a topic.

Other than that, it’s not a bad list of rules to consider.

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