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★★★★☆

“Worth reading for companies of all sizes”

Written on: 29/04/2014 by plappen (122 reviews written)

Will There Be Donuts? Better Business One Meeting at a Time, David Pearl, 2013, ISBN 9780007519538

Meetings are the bane of modern-day business. Is there any way to make them not so long, boring and unproductive?

First of all, exchange the donuts and soda for something much healthier, like water and protein bars. The sugar rush, followed by the mid-afternoon sugar crash, helps no one.

Why do people attend meetings? It's a nice alternative to doing actual work, technology makes it possible, we confuse "efficient" and "effective", and we forget that there is an alternative.

Looking at the anatomy of meetings, there is a big difference between what a meeting is about, and the intention. Make sure the "right" people are at your meeting, like the Leader, the Recorder, the Facilitator and the Coach. Look at things from the point of view of your customers. Read magazines that you would not normally read; listen to other radio stations. Who attends meetings? Do they have to be there?

What can be done? The average hotel "business conference room" is a windowless room in the basement with harsh artificial lighting. Stay out of that room. Hold your meeting in the hotel lounge, or, even better, hold it outside. Back at the office, consider getting rid of your big, rectangular conference table, and replacing it with several smaller tables with swivel chairs.

Have an agenda, and stick to it (but leave room for the unexpected). Is this meeting to brainstorm new ideas, or to keep everyone informed on recent developments? Don't let anyone change the focus of the meeting, or otherwise monopolize it. Impose a Fine Jar, where all participants are required to pay if they are caught texting during the meeting.

This book is very much worth reading for companies of all sizes. Even small changes in a company's meetings can only help. Some sort of summary or bullet points would have made this book even better, but, yes, it is worth the money.

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