10 Commandments that Fix All Lousy Meetings

The responsibility for great meetings is always the responsibility of the person leading the meeting.

Great meetings create focus, clarity, decisions, and useful activity.

conference room


The people around the table can’t wait to get back to useful work.

3 reasons we hate meetings:

  1. The person running the meeting is inept.
  2. Too long. Change the rule of thumb from 60 to 30 minutes.
  3. Too detailed. Large groups working on details always expand irrelevant specks of dust into giant mountains of mud. Delegate details to individuals or groups of two or three, at most.

The 10 commandments of great meetings:

Law #1: Thou shalt always declare the purpose of the meeting before it happens.

The most important work of the meeting happens before the meeting. Confusion about purpose is always the result of inept leadership.

Law #2: All participants shalt understand and agree that the requirements of law #1 have been fully met.

Declaring the purpose of a meeting doesn’t mean everyone understands or aligns.

Law #3: Thou shalt meet to make decision, never to discuss.

Law #4: Everyone around the table shalt have a stake in the pie.

Law #5: The people closest to the work shalt talk the most.

Law #6: The most powerful person in the room shalt talk the least.

Law #7: Thou shalt engage in lively debate.

When law #6 is violated, law #7 won’t happen.

Law #8: The leader of the meeting shalt keep everyone focused and engaged.

Law #9: Thou shalt silence big mouths and engage quiet participants, even if it hurts someone’s feelings, .

Law #10: Thou shalt assign tasks to everyone in the room.

The person who leaves the room without something to do, shouldn’t have attended in the first place.

What happens, or doesn’t, at lousy meetings?

What commandments would you add to the list?