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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.
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 think out loud
Light in here’s so flattering
Not sure
Meetings are what I “do.”
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
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     9. Follow-Up
5. Guests    10. Consistency
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     9. Follow-Up
5. Guests    10. Consistency
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)
BROKEN MEETINGS (and how you'll fix them)
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     9. Follow-Up
5. Guests    10. Consistency
Meeting
adjourned.

Thanks.
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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BROKEN MEETINGS (and how you'll fix them)