Ugh, meetings

This question was asked on Quora recently, “How do you run a great meeting?“.  If you haven’t heard of Quora its a questions & answers social network and if you want, connect with me on Quora so we can test it out together .  So far I’m enjoying it in a I have to test this so I’ll make some time for it kinda way, but not sure if it’ll have staying power for me.  As always, time will tell.

Anyways, this question piqued my interest and I thought I’d share my answer:


First, try not to have a meeting.  If you can think of no other way to make progress than to have a meeting, then try the following…

Don’t make meetings in 1/2 hour increments.  Think about how long the meeting should be and make it that long.  We’re trained to think a meeting has to be 30 minutes, an hour, 2 hours, etc.

Invite as few people as possible.

Don’t tolerate lateness.  It’s disrespectful to everyone in the meeting.  And obviously, don’t be late.

Don’t be afraid to get people back on track.  Don’t let the conversation go all over the place, rein it back in.

And lastly, and once again, try not to have the meeting in the first place.  And if at all possible, don’t invite me :)


I also recently saw this post on Quora on why at one point David Sacks cut down on meetings at PayPal, which I found interesting.

Anything you’d add to this?


  1. Josh Martin on July 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I haven't used Quora, but I've been using formspring ( for awhile now, which is a similar service, but a more private Q&A. However, I do like the fact that you can get answers from credible sources. Just a few weeks ago, a former Facebook CTO was answering questions about the Google social network rumor:

  2. Adam on July 6, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks Jeff. Meetings can be very efficient, but rarely are.

    Manager Tools has a great podcast series on running effective meetings –….

  3. Helen MacDermott on July 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    A few more thoughts:

    Have some semblance of an agenda prepared.
    If there are materials or a dial-in number that the participants need, share it more than 3 minutes before the start of the meeting.
    Quickly re-cap at the end, focusing on any action items that need to be taken.

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