Time goes by so fast when you're in a startup. There is always too much to do and when you look around for someone to assign a task to you usually end up doing it yourself (thinking they already have too much to do too). So time is of the essence. With that in mind let's tick off my top 8 rules for internal meetings:
- Don't - don't meet unless you need to. This sounds like a no brainer but happens more often than you would think. Sometimes you need to get together to get on the same page but most times an email suffices.
- Agendify - know what you want to accomplish going in and work towards an agreed upon result.
- Moderate - some people will take meetings off track from the planned agenda. Politely interrupt, acknowledge their concern, move it back on track.
- Pare - who really needs to be there? Reduce the size of the meeting to the essential people needed to make a decision. More people = more time waste.
- Summarize - when you've reached a conclusion, summarize it and move on.
- Time Block - consistently have meetings in the same time block. Pick mornings or afternoons or schedule even tighter. "we will only have meetings between 1-4 on Tuesdays or Thursdays" This forces people to use the time efficiently and gives them a known productive block when meetings will not take place.
- Start - start the meetings on time whether everyone has shown or not. This gets everyone in the habit of showing up on time. I have been super guilty of this in the past. It isn't good for anyone. If this is you, just acknowledge that you're time challenged and make an extra effort to get moving earlier. This shows respect for everyone there and starts the meeting on solid footing.
- Cookies! - absolutely! If you're running the meeting you should always bring cookies.
... for completeness, here are a few other posts that cover the subject.