It Works: Stories From The Book

Avoid becoming a meeting basket case

One of my 25-minute meeting clients instigated a ‘no tech’ rule. At first, people were a bit resistant and reluctant. ‘What if someone needs to get hold of me urgently?’ The manager explained that if they were running 25-minute meetings, then they would only have to wait 25 minutes to respond to emails or voicemails.

Their only exceptions were:

  • technical/operational people who were ‘on call’ 
  • anyone who was expecting a baby.

The manager was very clear that if the organisation was in such poor shape that a person couldn’t be out of contact for 25 minutes, then there was a lot more wrong than an unanswered phone.

If people brought their phones to the meeting, they needed to stay in bags or pockets. Any that were on the table were placed in a basket near the door and could be picked up on the way out. After only two meetings, the basket was no longer required.

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An executive team I once worked with needed to improve their overall meeting structure and governance. The nature of their business was fast paced and rapidly changing, with a strong sense of urgency,... More
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