This article is originally published on Democrat & Chronicle
photo credit: Startup Stock Photos
#1. The dark side of meetings
“Meetings, the alternative to real work.”
I absolutely hate unnecessary or long meetings (especially unnecessary AND long meetings). You know, the meetings that make you wonder:
What most people don’t realize is the real cost of each meeting is not just donuts and coffee.
The cost of a meeting = The hour (rate/person) x the No. of people involved in the meeting
When you have a one-hour 5-manager meeting, it’d better be worth $500.
To maximize the ROI of your meeting, here are a few things to try:
Thinking about “Is a meeting really necessary?”
Chances are, at least one meeting is unnecessary or can be done over an email or a phone call.
Have a clear agenda of the meeting and stick to it
Do it as if you’re on a tight budget, just like some people would do with their grocery shopping.
The only difference is your “budget” involves other people’s time and attention. In that case, what would end up in a meeting you are running?
#2. Taking advantage of high-level meetings
I stole this idea from Chris Sacca, investor and guest Shark on “Shark Tank” (Thanks to Tim Ferriss).
Here’s why: It’s very likely that you have in-depth knowledge within your own department or function, but not enough on the company in general. So taking notes from those meetings will give you perspectives you won’t get anywhere else.
As soon as I learned that, I started inviting myself to meetings. (Keywords: Inviting myself.)
Me: “Hey, are you guys talking about XYZ here?”
People: “Yes.” (occasionally with a puzzled look on their face)
Me: “Great! Do you mind if I join you and take notes for you?”
People: “Nope, come on in.”
Depending on the situation, sometimes I’d give the executives a heads up that I’ve invite myself to their meetings. Very often, it ends with a “Okay” with laughters. (I imagine they laughed because they were wondering “What the heck is going on in this girl’s head?!”)
I've learned more from those meetings about a company/industry than I would have otherwise.
Conclusion: Proceed to meetings with caution, but never miss the opportunity to invite yourself to high-level meetings.