Just read Fred Wilson’s post on meetings as a VC, Bored of Directors. He details the issues with being on a board of a start up and how often the meetings are unproductive. The views outlined are similar to all meetings. I am at my core, a meeting hater. Sure we need them and they can be productive but mostly they suck. They suck because they are impersonal, usually held on a phone and a simply rehashing of stuff we already know.
Fred detailed a few things that make his meetings productive:
1) get everyone in the room
2) less reporting3) more discussing
Yes, yes and more yes. When every thing is equal and the efficiency of the web becomes common place what will be the competitive advantage for a meeting? That’s right! Physical presence and charisma! Meetings suck mostly because they are run by humans. It’s our fault because the x factor in every meeting is the people in the room. You can try and set agendas, outline everything in advance and do as much work as possible before hand to try and un-suck the meeting but ultimately, the people in the room will muck it up. People want to be active in a meeting. Running through reports is boring and un-productive. We humans want to have fun and talk. Going through slides and statistics blows. Just get in there and talk about real issues and do discuss things that people want to talk about