Office GPS

Eliminate Presentations & Define Semantics for Shorter, More Efficient Meetings

Mihir Patkar
Most employees dread those officious team meetings because invariably, little gets done and a lot of time is wasted. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner shares a few tricks he has enforced at his company to make meetings shorter and more efficient.

"At LinkedIn, we have essentially eliminated the presentation"

Instead, materials that would have been presented during a meeting are sent out to participants in advance. Each meeting also allows for a 5-10 minute window at the start for people to read the materials. It sounds weird, but Weiner advises sticking with it: "After the first few times you try it, not only won't it be awkward -- it will be welcome."

It's important to enforce the no-presentation policy because the focus of the meeting then becomes about a valuable discourse. Weiner found that meetings scheduled for an hour were wrapping up in 20-30 minutes.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos follows a similar practice where presentations are condensed to 6-page memos. This makes the idea and answers all the important questions. "There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking," he says.

"Take the time to define semantics (and first principles)"

The discussion of a meeting can often get sidetracked when people are unclear about terms or words. Often, two people might be saying the same thing, but because they use different terminology, it ends up being an argument.

"It never ceases to amaze me how often meetings go off the rails by virtue of semantic differences," says Weiner. "Words have power, and as such, it's worth investing time upfront to ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of what certain keywords, phrases, and concepts mean to the various constituencies around the table."

In his post on the LinkedIn blog, Weiner suggests other practices to help improve your meetings, so be sure to check it out at the link below.

A Simple Rule to Eliminate Useless Meetings | LinkedIn



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