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How Leaders from Different Fields Run Effective Meetings

You’ve likely seen plenty of articles about how tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook run effective meetings. But what if you’re not in the tech space? Do these practices still apply?

Let’s look at how leaders from different professional backgrounds implement meeting best practices in their organizations. What's there to inspire us?

LinkedIn Executive Team Addresses Full Meeting Cycle

“Great meetings include thoughtful preparation and balanced discussion, culminating in a decision and commitment to action, followed by execution thereafter.” -- Brian Rumao, Chief of Staff at LinkedIn

Rumao summarized 9 tips that LinkedIn executives use to ensure their meetings lead to optimized results and higher performance. Some highlights:

  • Identify the meeting success criteria by finishing this statement: “The meeting will be successful if….”

  • The leadership team goes beyond listing topics to discuss. They share success criteria with each other before meeting, and use it as a checklist while meeting to achieve the end goal.

  • Send meeting prework 24 hours in advance. This gives the the participants time to read through the meeting materials and prepare questions. Meeting leaders also develop the habit of thoughtful meeting preparation.

  • Start meeting with a silent read-through; eliminate guided presentation. Inspired by Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, LinkedIn allots the first 5-10 minutes of a meeting for silent reading of meeting materials. Though awkward in the beginning, LinkedIn executives found they spent less time rehashing content and had more time for deeper discussions. While we question if this is the best way to spend executives’ time, this method does work for some teams.

  • Distribute notes and share relevant information with others. After the meeting, the note-taker sends the notes with the action items highlighted. The executives then share pertinent information with their own teams. This eliminates any communication gaps and keeps everyone on the same page.

Check out the slideshow below for more details.

Nadine Katz, M.D., Takes Meeting Preparation to the Next Level

As a Vice President at Montefiore Medical Center and Medical Director of the Einstein Hospital Campus, Dr. Katz attends numerous meetings. In an interview with Forbes, Dr. Katz shares strategies for running effective meetings. Here are a few:

  • Establish norms or codes of meeting conduct from the beginning. As we shared in a previous blog article, norms are the ground rules for how a team collaborates. Dr. Katz lays out norms that the group uses to address potential issues before they occur, such as how to deal with latecomers, lack of preparation, and meeting hijackers. When everyone understands the norms at the outset, meeting leaders can use them to bring people back to the agenda.

“You must never lose control of your meeting. If you start to, you’ve got to wrestle it back.”--Nadine Katz. M.D.

  • Use your meeting environment to your advantage. Tending to the meeting environment can improve the physical comfort of meeting participants, which can positively influence their mood and engagement. Dr. Katz adjusts room temperature and lighting, and, for longer meetings, even provides snacks that she knows the participants will enjoy. Another important meeting detail is where the meeting leader sits, something that can influence team dynamics and meeting conversation.

Nonprofit Leaders Share How to Create Better Board Meeting Experiences

Stanford Graduate School of Business invited nonprofit leaders Bruce Lesley (BoardSource), Ben Klasky (Islandwood) and Ruth Jones (Social Venture Partners Internationals) to share their expertise on running board meetings. A common theme was to make them enjoyable experiences! Here are some tips:

  • Create bonding opportunities. Jones invites board members to dinner the night before the meeting to build relationships and connect over topics other than work. This feeling of connection informs the board meeting the next day so that people feel energized and inspired rather than drained.

  • Make the meeting participatory. The Board Chair is responsible for facilitating conversation and getting everyone’s voice in the room. He or she can ask everyone in the room to share or break them into smaller discussion groups.

  • Improve future board meetings by collecting feedback. At the end of the board meeting, Lesley has meeting participants fill out index cards with the most and least important things they talked about. He uses the feedback to improve the content of the next board meeting.

What’s your professional background and what meeting practices serve you? Share your thoughts with us and the Meeteor community!

Photo Credit: Richard Rutter


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