How much time do you spend in meetings every week? Chances are, no matter what your answer is, it’s too much time.
Meetings get off track quickly. You start chatting about the weather, complaining about a new project, or maybe you start brainstorming at a meeting scheduled for a different project entirely. So how do you stay on track? Let’s see what the top CEOs around the world have to say.
1. Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn)
“Before getting to business, ask everyone to share a personal victory & a professional achievement from the last week to give meetings a positive energy from the start.”
2. Gary Vaynerchuck (VaynerMedia)
“Cut meeting times in half. If you schedule a 1-hour meeting, you’ll inevitably fill that time. If you plan a 15-minute meeting, you’ll find a way to get the important stuff done. Keep every meeting short, focused, and efficient.”
3. Steve Jobs (Apple)
“Keep it small. Keep your invite list in the single digits whenever possible by only including people who are absolutely necessary—regardless of their status.”
4. Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook)
“Set an agenda and stick to it. Take a notebook with you to every meeting with a list of discussion points and action items. As soon as every item is crossed off, end the meeting. Even if you’re 15 minutes in a meeting scheduled to last an hour.”
5. Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
“Don’t settle into consensus solely because it’s the easiest and most comfortable solution. Challenge each other and debate all sides before reaching a decision. Ask others for their opinions, or ask two people to debate the pros and cons of a big decision.”
6. Marissa Mayer (Yahoo)
“Most meetings involve making decisions — meaning lots of discussion. So require anyone who proposes a new idea to provide data to back it up. Decisions can be made quickly based solely on numbers, not opinions.”
7. Ben Horowitz (Andreessen Horowitz cofounder and former Opsware CEO)
Horowitz believed strongly in the importance of one-on-one meetings with the young leaders in his company. Because he asked the employee to set the agenda, he gave them the chance to cancel the meeting if nothing pressing needed attention. During those meetings, Horowitz only did about 10% of the talking, choosing instead to listen—believing that magical formula opened the door for honest and effective communication.
8. Alfred Sloan (General Motors)
During more his meetings, Sloan would pose a topic or an issue to the attendees and then sit back and listen quietly to what everyone else said. He then retreated to his office to mull over the discussion and follow up with an actionable plan complete with tasks and next steps.
Meetings can be a huge waste of time and company money drainer. So challenge yourself to keep meetings limited and efficient. Not only will it save your organization dollar bill stacks, but it will also feed and encourage the creativity potential of your employees.