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How to make your meetings more effective, quick tips by David Edmundson-Bird

How do we make meetings effective?

I think that is one of the oldest questions in the world. I go to a lot of meetings and I sometimes wonder why I’m at the meetings.

I think some people like to call meetings to make themselves important. Some meetings could just be a two-sentence email.

And you say, “You could have sent me that as an email.”

I think the most important thing is a meeting needs to have an agenda and I think people get a bit like, “Oh, does it really have to.” and I think, “Yeah!” I need to know why I’m going. I need to make a decision if I should be there, because every time you fill a room with expensive people, you have to think you are burning money up. So you better have a very good reason for having those people in that room.

I try and have as few meetings as possible. I try and arrange very few meetings. When I have a meeting and I have arranged it, everyone who’s coming knows it’s very important because they are so rare.

I have an agenda and I say, “This is what we want to talk about.” and we talk. I don’t present, no one presents, we discuss things.

Actually a meeting where the agenda is a very small number of items means that you can talk about all of those items.

Sometimes I think some meetings have agenda lists as long as your arm, and you know that you’ve got an hour and you are not going to cover all of those things in there.