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My New Meeting Rule

We all know meetings are horrible. Lots has been written (including by me) about how to make meetings better. I have a new rule I am going to create for myself that I think will help.

While much has to be improved in actual meetings, part of the solution has to be in pre- and post-meeting behaviors.

See if any of these scenarios sound familiar:

  • The meeting starts out with a recap of the meeting prework, because the organizer knows no one read the prework (including you). Maybe they didn't even send it out because they knew no one would read it.

  • There is time spent on something that was clearly addressed before the meeting, but participants did no prep.

  • No one steps up to take on post meeting tasks because they have too many meetings and will never find time to get the work done?

If you didn't recognize those scenarios, you've obviously just graduated from college and started your first job 3 days ago. Congrats and expect to experience one of those scenarios in the next 2 weeks.

Here is my new rule....

If I invite someone to a meeting, I will not only book the meeting, but I will book calendar time on their calendar pre- and post-meeting for prep and follow up. This is a recognition that the meeting is not just a solitary event.

If someone invites me to a meeting, I will only accept if I can put pre- and post-meeting time on my calendar as well. If I can't find the time, I don't accept the meeting.

How much? For every 1 minute of meetings, I will book 1 minute of other time (30 seconds pre and 30 seconds post). For example if someone invites me to an hour meeting, there is 30 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of follow up time.

I anticipate that this rule will make meetings more productive as well as drastically cut down on the time in meetings.

I'm interested in your thoughts on this idea. Email me at to let me know what you think.

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