Do You Really Need a Meeting? Thinking on Your Feet!

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“Let’s get a meeting in the calendar.”

What’s the obsession with meetings?  I’ve never understood this or been a fan of meetings. My experience, and it’s not just at large corporates, is that they’re called without a clear agenda, too many people pulled into them – with the approach of let’s just block out an hour or more; “just in case”, rather than a fixed twenty minutes that focuses the mind and the need to reach an outcome.

If you need a whole room of people there; if the agenda is not set and unfocused, or if you need several hours to go through everything, then you’re using the wrong tool for the job.  It’s not a meeting you need at that point in time.

Meetings should be focused on two or three points only.  They should be no longer than 20 minutes.  Any longer than this and not only does attention start to wander – phones get picked up and emails start getting replied to – but beyond this point conversations tend to become circular.  It becomes a zero sum game.

At StatusCake we do things differently.  Just as product and features are developed in an agile environment, we like to think on our feet when it comes to meetings.  A meeting is that final stage where quick and fast decisions need to be made.  And because we never sit still in anything we do, meetings are on the go with a brisk 10-15 minute walk.  By the time we get back to HQ a decision has been made.  No one sits back down at their desk without those points having been resolved resolved.

The walking meeting is important.  It not only gets everyone away from their computers (phones are left back at base!), but taking ourselves out of the office environment, you’ll find that without email, PowerPoint or other crutches, everyone needs to be pretty sharp in what they’re saying.  There is no fancy slide-deck or pivot-table to hide behind.  Everything is more human, more real, more honest.  After all if you can’t explain what the issue is without prompts or aids you really don’t understand the issue well enough yourself yet alone be able to explain to anyone else.

But before a meeting becomes a good walk spoiled, stop. Think. Do you even need a meeting in the first place?

James Barnes

Co-Founder – Uptime Monitoring

P.S. – As a bonus you’ll get fit & stay focused this way as well!

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