Ensure business meetings are productive, advises expert

Don’t hold a meeting to deliver information that could just as easily have been read online or shared in an email. 

That’s the sage advice of Jerry Osteryoung, a meetings expert writing for floridatrend.com, who believes that in order to avoid meetings that are a ‘waste of time’, leaders should employ a number of innovative ideas.

He cites ideas from Jeff Bezo, CEO of Amazon, who has banned PowerPoint presentations when organising a meeting in a conference space. He believes these types of presentations are used as a crutch for the speaker and should be banned.  

“Rather, he requires the meeting organiser to write a six-page memo detailing his or her idea and the key points. Attendees read the memo before starting the meeting, so the first 30 minutes is always very quiet as everyone sits and reads,” he added.

In addition, Bezo always leaves an empty seat in the meeting as this is reserved for the ‘customer’. Of course, the customer is not physically in the meeting but an empty chair reminds attendees that they are working to help the customer, adds Osteryoung.

Another important factor of a meeting is having an ‘open discussion’, said the expert to tallahassee.com.

“The most important element to have in your meeting is an open discussion. Open discussions facilitate new ideas and collaboration, which are the very things that make meetings worthwhile,” he added.