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Wall Street Journal: Where's The Boss? Trapped in a Meeting

What do chief executives do all day? It really is what it seems: They spend about a third of their work time in meetings…18 hours of a 55-hour workweek in meetings, more than three hours on calls and five hours in business meals, on average…Working alone averaged just six hours weekly…CEOs say they pine for more solo time to think and strategize…(however) CEOs say that meetings are an important part of their job, helping them connect with managers and clients, but can be a waste of time if they aren’t run efficiently.

Here’s the framework of my meeting structure and strategy:*

  1. Have an agenda and circulate it.  (Focus discussion on strategic priorities, road blocks and decisions.  Leave the general updates for email.  If there is no agenda, cancel the meeting.  Don’t waste time.)
  2. Schedule less time for meetings.  (“Meetings expand to fill the time you have.” If your meetings are generally one hour, cut them to 45 min or 30 min.  Keep the discussion and agenda moving.  Schedule separate longer meetings for brainstorming, planning and strategy sessions.)
  3. Don’t Schedule Meetings Back to Back.  (If you normally schedule a 1 hour meeting, schedule it from 10:00am to 10:45am.  This will give you time to jot down your follow-up notes.  It will allow you to catch your breath and de-compress.  And it will allow you to show up on time to the next meeting.)
  4. Start on Time.  (Don’t wait for late comers.  If being late becomes a habit for some, make it clear that this conduct is unprofessional and disrespectful.  Your team will quickly take your queue that you run a tight ship and respect everyone’s time.)
  5. End on Time.  (Again, if you set the routine, everyone knows what to expect.  And they will respect you for respecting their time.)
  6. Send around a follow-up email after the meeting.  (Who owns what by when.  Refer to the follow-ups during next meeting)

*(Now if I could just consistently practice what I preach…)

Sources & Great Posts on How To Run Meetings:

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