“We overran, again”
Meetings overrun sometimes and that’s ok. But if all meetings gallop over their designated time, then it’s a problem for everyone. If it’s because there’s so much more to be achieved than the time will allow, then make the meeting a little longer. But if it’s because people are always late because their previous meeting has gone over its allocated time, then it’s necessary to be firm. Set ‘hard’ starts/finishes and make it clear that there will be no catch-up for latecomers. If everyone on a call is happy to be recorded, that can help people get up to speed too.
“I lost count of how many people were on that call.”
Ever been on a call that feels less like a meeting and more like a Black Friday sale? Introductions that take half the allotted time, everyone clamouring to have their say, or the chatbox filling with asides, hellos and goodbyes? It feelswasteful because it is wasteful. But how many people is the right amount? Well, Jeff Bezos famously applies the ‘two pizza rule’ to his meetings – if you can’t feed everyone in attendance with two pizzas, then there are too many people. A pizza-free alternative is to implement a ‘one person per team’ policy to bring numbers down, allowing a single representative to report actions back to their colleagues and share any decks, notes or recordings.
“I wanted to say… but I didn’t get the chance.”
Even when the number of people in a meeting is workable, you can have an imbalance of personalities – and that’s brilliant because difference always brings excellent and diverse skills and viewpoints to the table. However, it’s also important that everyone has an opportunity to contribute, share ideas and offer their opinions. While having a ‘chair’ might seem a bit formal for many meetings, it’s actually essential to designate one person to oversee proceedings, stepping in to keep everyone on topic and bring balance. For example, a great chairperson will identify who isn’t having their say and guide them into the conversation.