Meeting Efficiency As Contact Sport

I’ve linked to this Seth Godin post about meeting efficiently before, but it was probably on Twitter. Here’s more than 140 characters worth…

I’ve noticed a typical script most meetings follow:

  • Lots of time spent waiting on people to arrive
  • Meeting then starts with people absent anyway
  • Issues are identified and discussed relatively quickly by the folks who were on time
  • Someone shows up late, and they inevitably want to rehash the issues that have been identified and discussed while they weren’t there.
  • Issues beyond the scope of the meeting are raised, usually by one of the people who was late.
  • At least one person feels the need to continue the meeting for the entirety of its scheduled time with “filler” material.

It all pays the same to me–just some things I’ve noticed over the last 15 years or so. What is strange is that this seems to be a relatively predictable situation, yet there haven’t been many attempts to correct it or make it more efficient.

Maybe if a fist fight or sumo wrestling match were scheduled to begin on time at the beginning and end of every meeting people would be anxious to get their on time and get the meeting over with as soon as possible?

I don’t know what the answer is, I’m just throwing ideas out there.

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  • I of course LURVE this idea. I would add that for every 5 minutes that a person is late for the meeting they should have a limb disabled.