How top execs run an effective meeting

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

If the word "meeting" is met with eye rolls from your project team, it is time to reevaluate the way you conduct yours. Every project manager has a personal style when it comes to team meetings. Some keep it light and use the time as an opportunity for team members to touch base, while others look forward to having a soapbox from which to address project issues.

Business Insider recently reported that Americans sit through some 11 million meetings every day. While some of these meetings are run efficiently, the report found that unproductive meetings cost companies $37 billion a year. To avoid an egregious waste of your project's resources, review your meeting habits and see if you could streamline the process. Business Insider looked at how some of the most successful executives organize their meetings.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is a strong proponent of thorough preparation and sticking to a tight agenda. She brings a spiral notebook to each meeting with a list of discussion points and issues to be addressed. After her agenda is completed, regardless of how much time is left on the schedule, the meeting is over, and everyone heads back to work.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also expects all meeting participants to arrive fully prepared and ready with solutions. One anonymous employee told Business Insider "When we met with Elon, we were prepared. Because if you weren't, he'd let you know it. If he asked a reasonable follow up question and you weren't prepared with an answer, well, good luck." Musk is known as a strict leader, and has reportedly fired staff who miss deadlines.

The late Steve Jobs ran meetings with the same minimalist style that is the hallmark of his company's products. He liked to keep his meetings small, with only necessary staff present, to avoid time wasting. Reportedly, Jobs declined a meeting with President Obama because the list of attendees was too long.

New Leaf Project Management's free white paper "How Not to Run a Meeting" provides a comical look at many of the common mistakes project managers make when organizing their meetings. In addition, our training programs and online QPM games let you learn while you earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

"PMI®," "PMP®," and "PMBOK®" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

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