How do you conduct your meetings?

Hi team, we’re scaling and the old way of meetings is killing us

  • Too many video calls - not enough async
  • Too many on the call who aren’t needed
  • Too many update meetings

As anyone faced this issue and come up with a meeting playbook / rulebook they use / implemented?

Thanks in advance

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Try this:

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Every time we have this kind of issue (it happens once every 2 years approximately) we remove all meetings, feel the pain of what is missing and re-create meetings based on what’s missing.

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one of my favorite topics. Let me ask some diagnosing questions

  • re: too many video calls - not enough async

  • what are you doing now? What does “async” look like at your company?

  • re: too many on the call who aren’t needed

  • Is that by peoples’ own admission? Or are you observing things that lead you to that conclusion?

  • re: too many update meetings

  • when I read “update meetings” I think of standups that go way too long where it’s just people saying “yes I’m still working on X”. Is that accurate?

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Short bit on good meetings by Daniel Elk, CEO of Spotify that I have adopted:

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Thank you @ShiyaoLiu.

@Karan, Love it! Like burning the backlog

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  • Not anything really - some send some materials ahead of a meeting for review - most don’t;
  • Both
  • We have various standups, department, product, project - correct
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@Mario, gotcha gotcha

It sounds like what you’ve got is (I’m just making up this term) inertia of meeting defaults. e.g. :

  • people get added to a meeting invite and feel like they have to attend (do meeting organizers ever use the Optional label?)

  • people don’t question whether their presence in the meeting is useful, or if their time is better spent elsewhere

  • and if they do, they don’t have graceful ways to bow out

  • you also have a LOT of meetings. My guess is that they’re duplicative or overlapping in purpose? And are any of them just holdovers from past recurring meetings that have outlived their usefulness?

Some suggestions to you:

  • do you feel comfortable + in a position to propose changes? It’s probably most effective coming from leaders in the org, but it’s not impossible to change your own local team’s norms and hopefully that can spread

  • if so, can you:

  1. Require agendas? I personally ask people to write a short 1-2 sentences about what this meeting is about (this helps me get ahead of the meeting and handle asynchronously)
  • This also has a good side effect of increasing the activation of energy of creating a meeting, reducing the total number of meetings that get created
  1. Give people explicit snippets to bow out of meetings?
  • “Hey folks, it feels like I’m extraneous to this meeting, so I’m going to bow out. If something comes up that DOES require me, let me know via Slack. But I might dive heads down into work, so if I don’t reply, could you please just make an action item and tag me?”
  1. Can you delete old recurring meetings?
  • here’s my snippet: “I’m going to ask the question: is there any point to this meeting and thus, any objection to me deleting this meeting?”
    (a) most of the time when I ask the above, there are no objections and people DM me to say “thank god I hated that meeting”
    (b) Sometimes people say “oh actually I find this useful for XYZ reason”, and boom: you’ve found a champion to own the meeting and make it useful
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Also @FelipeRibeiro love that interview.

Funny enough there’s another Observer Effect with Tobi Lutke, CEO at Shopify (another S + “ify” company, coincidentally):

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ooo I haven’t read that one @Nathan - added to my read list now - but 100% agree with the intention!

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Likely this:

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Wow @Nathan, That was very precise and to-the-point explanation. Would never be able to thank you enough. Really appreciate the effort and time you’ve taken to put it up. Am sure it would be useful for all the members in here.

Thank you @CarolynMiles. Have just had a look at the article, will surely go through it at ease. Thank you all, once again.