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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Raju Narisetti

Raju Narisetti

Raju Narisetti, a Managing Editor at The Washington Post, is a former founding editor of Mint, a business newspaper in India. Previously, he blogged as A Romantic Realist.

Meeting Survival Guide

In no particular order, some of my rules for surviving meeting overload:

1. Delegate;

2. Use email judiciously instead of always meeting in person;

3. Don't be ashamed of multi-tasking in a meeting if it makes you more productive;

4. Set smaller meeting windows, such as 45 minutes instead of the default one hour;

5. Walk over to their office so you can get up and end a meeting when you are done;

6. Schedule optional meetings before mandatory, pre-set meetings that have a fixed start time;

7. Do it over lunch or breakfast so you are done when the meal is done;

8. Avoid going-around-the-table formats;

9. Follow up promptly in email to avoid more follow-up meetings;

10. Don't be shy of asking, "Anything else?"

By Raju Narisetti

 |  October 6, 2009; 6:40 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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I worked with a doctor who hated meetings and made them as brief and unpleasant as possible so that nobody invited him after a while.

On the other hand, I worked with another doctor who used the Friday afternoon meetings as a teaching exercise and brought the team up to date on the complex research we were doing. He'd talk about the underlying science and the team became very cohesive. We collected money once a month and served light lunches. It was very empowering to everyone he worked with and gave him a chance to see how much we understood and how we were using our understanding.

Meetings have to have a purpose and should be adjourned once the purpose is accomplished.

Posted by: moninga1 | October 6, 2009 2:42 PM
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I have some issues with your advice.

1. Delegate;there's an issue with this in critical elements that need your personal attention. If it's not so extraordinary, then delegation and a report on it might be more productive.

2. Use email judiciously instead of always meeting in person; This I absolutely agree. Some folks don't want to start a long drawn out conversation via e-mail, however. The value of the phone is still a powerful and personal method of expediting and shortening the communication.

3. Don't be ashamed of multi-tasking in a meeting if it makes you more productive; I'll admit on telecons, that's what I do. But if I can delegate this meeting, it would be better use of my time to devote my fullest attention on the tasks at hand.

4. Set smaller meeting windows, such as 45 minutes instead of the default one hour; Yep. That works. But setting the time of the meeting on the 10's is even better. Face it. Waiting for everyone to get settled takes about that long anyway.


5. Walk over to their office so you can get up and end a meeting when you are done; Personal contact is a powerful and effective method of communication. I agree.

6. Schedule optional meetings before mandatory, pre-set meetings that have a fixed start time; Regular meetings on a daily basis can be productive, if the team understands that EVERYONE is required.

7. Do it over lunch or breakfast so you are done when the meal is done; No way. I know that I'm more focused on the coffee and donut than what the boss is saying. Sorry, boss, but it's the truth.

8. Avoid going-around-the-table formats; for standups, that's the best way to get all the manager's statuses.

9. Follow up promptly in email to avoid more follow-up meetings; Gosh, isn't that the optimal? I have to prioritize my e-mail to get through the tough stuff first. Exploit the tools that are available with colors, automatic moving rules, etc.

10. Don't be shy of asking, "Anything else?" ; If you ask that at the end of the meeting, you are asking for a new meeting? I'd say that when the manager is giving their status, ask them then.

Posted by: Lulu12 | October 6, 2009 11:18 AM
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