Google’s former CEO and current chair, Eric Schmidt outlined these 6 key principles that describe the way Google approaches their meetings:
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1. They have a leader
Decision-making is a crucial part of the meeting, which is why it’s vital to have a clear decision-maker at every point in the process. A senior in the company is often appointed as the decision-maker and they will have the final say on what could be a tough decision.
2. Their meetings have a clear purpose and structure
If your meetings tend to overrun the allotted time, then they most likely lack a clearly defined purpose and structure. Other than being the decision-maker, the leader also has the following duties to assure an organised meeting:
Arranges the meeting
Ensures that the agenda is prepared
Sets the objectives
Shares the agenda to the attendees
Highlights and summarises decisions
3. Their meetings have an owner
Whether for a brainstorming session or to disseminate information, there should still be a leader assigned to manage the meeting – even if it’s not about decision-making.
The owner must ensure that the right people are invited to the meeting and that the attendees are informed about the agenda. They must also notify the necessary people about the work that needs to be done in advance and ensure that the action items are circulated promptly amongst the meeting group.
4. They hold meetings only when necessary
If the meeting doesn’t even have a purpose or if it isn’t likely to achieve a purpose, then what’s the point? As the leader, you may ask yourself these questions to evaluate whether you should hold the meeting or not:
“What is the purpose of our meeting?”
“Will the attendees be able to gain something from the meeting?”
5. They do not include more than eight people
…or ten at the most. Each and every attendee must be able to input on the meeting or they shouldn’t be invited. Those who observe or listen will just waste time that could otherwise be spent on more productive tasks.
If anyone else needs to know the essence of the discussion, then you should pass on the information after the meeting has ended.
6. They strictly follow time constraints
At Google, time is money! They always start and end their meetings at the scheduled time and they leave just enough time to summarise findings and action items. For longer discussions, they ensure that breaks are placed throughout the conference.
Don’t be afraid to reinvent your meeting wheel! Try incorporating these principles into your company meetings and training sessions and see whether you can turn each gathering into something more productive. Call &Meetings on 0800 073 0499 and see how our training rooms in London can help to develop your new meeting strategy.