Broken Meetings
(and, how you will fix them)



by Merlin Mann
43Folders.com



Broken Meetings, by Merlin Mann is ©2010 M...
ODEO OFFICE
THE CANNERY, 3RD ST.
October, 2005
Petty Crime
     vs.
Manslaughter
Hell
is other people.


Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit (1944)
Hell
is other people’s
    meetings.

    Me, Here (2010)
“Tim”
[kill me hand]
Here’s the
problem.
Nobody thinks
their meetings
suck.
Ask around.
Treating
The “Meh”
VIRUS
(Before it kills again.)
There are many
crummy reasons
to call a meeting.
Bored
Dunno what else to do
Everybody calls meetings
Free snacks
Cool new laser pointer
Prefer to be seated
Need to just t...
For someone on the maker’s
schedule, having a meeting is
like throwing an exception.
It doesn’t merely cause you
to switch...
Where’s it hurt, people?
• Distracted & Bored
• Unprepared
• Apathetic
• Late, Late, Late
• Ragnarök
Ow. This does hurt.
• Lack of Focus
• Lack of Preparation
• Lack of Care
• Lack of Respect
• Lack of Parenting
Buh?
“Parenting?”
Yes.
“Parenting.”
Every meeting needs a
      Parent
Because, it’s not all about
         You
        any more.

           (Sorry.)
Key Thing

Don’t wait for others
to do the right thing.

You first.
Demand
First-Person
Transitive


“I verb noun.”
Verbs
are your job.

So, why not verb
your meetings?
Two
Heroes.
MR. MASON              MR. HAND
PHOTO: THOMAS HAWK       (RAY WALSTON)
http://i-0.us/cYTsdJ   PHOTO: FAST TIMES
MR. MASON
PHOTO: THOMAS HAWK
bit.ly/cYTsdJ
MR. HAND
  (RAY WALSTON)
PHOTO: FAST TIMES
Like,
HOW?
10 Patterns
to Improve Meetings
1. Purpose   6. Timekeeper
2. Agenda    7. No Ratholes
3. Grazing   8. Focus
4. Edges     ...
1. Purpose
(set it and stick to it)
2. Agenda
(set it and stick to it)
3. Grazing Policy
(set it and stick to it)
4. Edges
(set them and stick to them)
5. Guests
(schedule them and stick to it)
6. Timekeeper
(set “acts” and stick to it)
7. No Ratholes
(set expectation then stick to it)
8. Focus
(restate purpose and stick to it)
9. Follow-Up
(set accountability then stick to it)
10. Be Consistent
(yes: stick to that, most of all)
10 Patterns
to Improve Meetings
1. Purpose   6. Timekeeper
2. Agenda    7. No Ratholes
3. Grazing   8. Focus
4. Edges     ...
Caution!
Some of these
will get you killed
or fired.
Resolved.

Nothing matters
until it gets:

• a budget
• a deadline
• one owner
(otherwise it’s just a poster of a boat)
People aren’t
dumb.

They just chase
Big Dogs.
I know, I know:
“Too much!”
Fine. Start here…
The Four Quick Wins:
1. One Agenda
2. Two Hard Edges
3. Ruthless Grazing Policy
4. Transitive Follow-Up
10 Patterns
to Improve Meetings
1. Purpose   6. Timekeeper
2. Agenda    7. No Ratholes
3. Grazing   8. Focus
4. Edges     ...
Meeting
adjourned.

Thanks.
Broken Meetings
(and, how you will fix them)



by Merlin Mann
43Folders.com



Broken Meetings by Merlin Mann is ©2010 Me...
BROKEN MEETINGS (and how you'll fix them)
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BROKEN MEETINGS (and how you'll fix them)

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There's a big elephant in the office today that's becoming harder to ignore—meetings.

Even the best meetings can eat up massive person-hours, but those really awful ones will just kill you. You know the type.

Those time-wasting, rudderless, repetitious, zombie meetings where "deep dives," "drill downs," and "face time" often mean much is debated, little is accomplished, and everybody leaves feeling broken--AND, often as not, late for their next meeting.

In the premiere of this all-new presentation, Merlin Mann attacks Bad Meeting Culture with the same brand of practical, funny, and thought-provoking advice that his popular Inbox Zero talks brought to the topic of email.

You'll learn:

- what got us into this meeting mess
- why meetings have special powers to waste time at scale
- how "The 'Meh' Virus" propogates
- why even scrums and one-on-ones aren't immune
- how your meeting needs a parent
- 10 insanely practical tactics for improving your own meetings--starting today

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Transcript of "BROKEN MEETINGS (and how you'll fix them)"

  1. 1. Broken Meetings (and, how you will fix them) by Merlin Mann 43Folders.com Broken Meetings, by Merlin Mann is ©2010 Merlin Mann. It is licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License. Based on a work at www.43folders.com.
  2. 2. ODEO OFFICE THE CANNERY, 3RD ST. October, 2005
  3. 3. Petty Crime vs. Manslaughter
  4. 4. Hell is other people. Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit (1944)
  5. 5. Hell is other people’s meetings. Me, Here (2010)
  6. 6. “Tim”
  7. 7. [kill me hand]
  8. 8. Here’s the problem.
  9. 9. Nobody thinks their meetings suck.
  10. 10. Ask around.
  11. 11. Treating The “Meh” VIRUS (Before it kills again.)
  12. 12. There are many crummy reasons to call a meeting.
  13. 13. Bored Dunno what else to do Everybody calls meetings Free snacks Cool new laser pointer Prefer to be seated Need to just think out loud Light in here’s so flattering Not sure Meetings are what I “do.”
  14. 14. For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work. Paul Graham bit.ly/9KHXHf
  15. 15. Where’s it hurt, people? • Distracted & Bored • Unprepared • Apathetic • Late, Late, Late • Ragnarök
  16. 16. Ow. This does hurt. • Lack of Focus • Lack of Preparation • Lack of Care • Lack of Respect • Lack of Parenting
  17. 17. Buh? “Parenting?”
  18. 18. Yes. “Parenting.”
  19. 19. Every meeting needs a Parent Because, it’s not all about You any more. (Sorry.)
  20. 20. Key Thing Don’t wait for others to do the right thing. You first.
  21. 21. Demand First-Person Transitive “I verb noun.”
  22. 22. Verbs are your job. So, why not verb your meetings?
  23. 23. Two Heroes.
  24. 24. MR. MASON MR. HAND PHOTO: THOMAS HAWK (RAY WALSTON) http://i-0.us/cYTsdJ PHOTO: FAST TIMES
  25. 25. MR. MASON PHOTO: THOMAS HAWK bit.ly/cYTsdJ
  26. 26. MR. HAND (RAY WALSTON) PHOTO: FAST TIMES
  27. 27. Like, HOW?
  28. 28. 10 Patterns to Improve Meetings 1. Purpose 6. Timekeeper 2. Agenda 7. No Ratholes 3. Grazing 8. Focus 4. Edges 9. Follow-Up 5. Guests 10. Consistency
  29. 29. 1. Purpose (set it and stick to it)
  30. 30. 2. Agenda (set it and stick to it)
  31. 31. 3. Grazing Policy (set it and stick to it)
  32. 32. 4. Edges (set them and stick to them)
  33. 33. 5. Guests (schedule them and stick to it)
  34. 34. 6. Timekeeper (set “acts” and stick to it)
  35. 35. 7. No Ratholes (set expectation then stick to it)
  36. 36. 8. Focus (restate purpose and stick to it)
  37. 37. 9. Follow-Up (set accountability then stick to it)
  38. 38. 10. Be Consistent (yes: stick to that, most of all)
  39. 39. 10 Patterns to Improve Meetings 1. Purpose 6. Timekeeper 2. Agenda 7. No Ratholes 3. Grazing 8. Focus 4. Edges 9. Follow-Up 5. Guests 10. Consistency
  40. 40. Caution! Some of these will get you killed or fired.
  41. 41. Resolved. Nothing matters until it gets: • a budget • a deadline • one owner (otherwise it’s just a poster of a boat)
  42. 42. People aren’t dumb. They just chase Big Dogs.
  43. 43. I know, I know: “Too much!” Fine. Start here…
  44. 44. The Four Quick Wins: 1. One Agenda 2. Two Hard Edges 3. Ruthless Grazing Policy 4. Transitive Follow-Up
  45. 45. 10 Patterns to Improve Meetings 1. Purpose 6. Timekeeper 2. Agenda 7. No Ratholes 3. Grazing 8. Focus 4. Edges 9. Follow-Up 5. Guests 10. Consistency
  46. 46. Meeting adjourned. Thanks.
  47. 47. Broken Meetings (and, how you will fix them) by Merlin Mann 43Folders.com Broken Meetings by Merlin Mann is ©2010 Merlin Mann. It is licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License. Based on a work at www.43folders.com.
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