Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Meetings: Execution is not a Death Sentence

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on July 27, 2009

Despite how much I try to avoid this scenario I will occasionally have a day where I’m literally in meetings the entire day.  This is not healthy and it’s extremely inefficient.  Going from one meeting to straight into another one is dangerous.  Without scheduling time specifically to execute on a meetings action points immediately after the meeting takes place we can loose as much as half of the potential value of that meeting.

Here are 4 simple ideas to retain maximum value from meetings.

1) Be early to every meeting.  Most people are not early. So if you show up 3-5 minutes early you will command an unspoken respect that says I value your time and I value mine so let’s make this count.  Eventually people will feel guilty if they’re constantly showing up late and you’re already there and they’ll change their habit.  They will not feel guilty however if you’re occasionally late too.

2) Don’t leave a meeting without clear action points and an understanding on who is executing on them. If you’re not sure what they are then just ask. You may find out that other people are wondering about this too but feel weird about asking.  I’m amazed at the number of meetings that take place where everyone walks out feeling like something important just happened but no one has a clear plan of action.  The value of the meeting is rarely in the meeting.  The value comes from what takes place as a result of the meeting.

3) Volunteer to do the members of the meeting a favor and email out a follow up including the agreed upon action points and who is responsible for each one.  This way no one forgets or gets confused on who is doing what.  The other attendees of the meeting will get distracted on their way back to their desk or heaven forbid step immediately into another meeting.   Simply emailing out a follow up summary of the meeting will cordially obligate them to execute on their part.

4) Never schedule back to back meetings. The only way to accomplish these first 3 things is to have the time between meetings to do this.  If you wait until the end of the day or even until after the next meeting it is too late.  50% of the value, creativity, energy etc. is lost within 10 minutes of the meeting being over.  If the norm is a 30 minute meeting make it 20, if it’s an hour make it 45 minutes and use the newly found time time for execution.  If you have an assistant that helps you schedule meetings then train them to adopt this same mentality.  A meeting will expand or contract to the time allotted no matter how much time is scheduled. If someone else requests the meeting for an hour and you reply letting them know you only have 45 minutes they will realize how much you value your time, and they are likely to value those 45 minutes more than if you just casually accepted the initial request for an hour.


1)      Be Early

2)      Don’t leave without clear action points

3)      Email out a summary to the members of the meeting including action points

4)      Avoid back to back meetings and schedule time for execution

Side note: This may seem trite but always make sure a meeting is actually in order.  People tend to call meetings as a default solution to ‘I don’t know what else to do to get everyone on the same page’.  Many times effective communication is possible without calling everyone together, and if you put the energy into connecting with the right people individually you will gain the respect of those who might otherwise have felt like your meeting was wasting their time.

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  1. […] in doubt bring lots of candy to the meeting. For more ideas on how to have better meetings, read my previous post about meetings or check out Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership events to get the tools for […]

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