Today's Reading

PREFACE

This book is about getting twenty people in a meeting to feel like five friends having a conversation over coffee. Not easy, but doable.

As a manager, would it make a difference if employees looked forward to your meetings? As an individual, would it help if you knew that every meeting on your schedule this week would add momentum to your priorities and projects?

Meetings are a competitive edge for every organization that gets them right. And for individuals, the ability to lead and participate effectively in meetings is at the heart of having influence in an organization.

Like anything worthy of mastery, it takes patience, persistence, and practice to take your meetings from ordinary to extraordinary. But it will not take years. Choosing a single thing to focus on in your next five to ten meetings will produce immediate change. This book sets you on the right trajectory. In three months, your meetings can be dramatically different.

INTRODUCTION

The ability to set up a conversation, manage the conversation, and wrap it up effectively is the missing piece in meetings everywhere. While most people think passion, knowledge, and drive are all they need to succeed, through my long career in organizational management, I am here to tell you: it is your meeting skills that will set you apart. Collectively, any organization that establishes a deep capacity for excellent meetings will have an edge in execution, accomplishment, and engagement.

Despite solutions being quite simple at their core, meetings continue to be a source of irritation and frustration—especially when people end up taking work home to make up for time lost in unproductive meetings. These are the six most common complaints:

1. My boss is terrible at leading meetings.

2. A few people dominate the conversations.
 
3. The group is too large to get anything done.
 
4. We just pass along information. We don't talk about
real issues.

5. Too many people are distracted by devices.
 
6. We don't make progress between meetings.
 
The online meeting scheduling firm Doodle found these to be the most prevalent irritants:

55%
Taking phone calls or texting

50%
People who interrupt others

49%
People who don't listen to others

49%
Arriving late or leaving early

46%
People who talk about nothing for long periods of time

24%
People eating

21%
People who don't contribute to the discussion

9%
People taking notes on laptops

The Doodle State of Meetings Report 2019, from research with 6,528 professionals in the UK, Germany, and the USA
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