“The meeting requests that now jump to the top of my list are the few, very smart entrepreneurs who say, ‘I’d like to have coffee to bounce an idea off of you and in exchange I’ll tell you all about what we learned about xx.’”
Fast Company Insider:
Fast Company’s weekly editorial meeting.
It’s Monday. You’re probably trying to stay motivated. Here are a few tips that will help you be productive today:
- Want to get more done? Go somewhere else
- 11 simple tips for having great meetings from some of the world’s most productive people
- 5 weird habits that make people successful and awesome
Have a great week!
“The average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week. That’s over 800 hours a year. For a grand total over an entire career of—are you sitting down?—37,440 hours of meetings. That’s more than 4 years of your precious time…”
We can all agree that the conference room is probably not where your best ideas are born. Which is why taking a run is far from a waste of time.
The Takeaway: Often, the most productive meetings take place outside the office.
Jerry Seinfeld On The Perfection Of The Coffee Meeting
Seinfeld’s talks to us about his next act, the web series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and why coffee is the perfect, er, vehicle for communication.
Coffee meetings are perfect, weird little things. Jerry Seinfeld, the Gandalf of little weird perfections, explains why five years ago they became a part of his working life:
"I got married and I had a family and my entire day was not free for social interaction," he tells NPR. “And eating is annoying and difficult to arrange, [and it’s] hard to choose places. And meeting someone for coffee suddenly seemed like a wonderful, compact, accessible and portable social interaction.”
As Seinfeld and NPR host Steve Inskeep discussed, coffee’s so great because it gives us something to with our hands: Seinfeld says that not having a cup to play with is like a comedian without a microphone—using a clip-on thing makes the audience feel uncomfortable. The coffee is a prop, giving you something to look at when you need to think, which is a key to communication, whether workplace or not.
"It also obviously gets people talking," Seinfeld says, "You have coffee and for some reason it makes you talk a lot."
The talking has an effect: As an MIT Media Lab study has found, teams that go on coffee breaks are more productive and have stronger social bonds, making it a stimulating—and low cost—management tool.
And whether you didn’t get enough sleep, you don’t know how to get through the afternoon, or you need a pause in conversation, Seinfeld observes that coffee’s that little help.
"Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup," he says.
[Image: Flickr user Aurimas]
The Best Meetings Happen Around The Block
Because a bunch of people slumping into their iPhones never got anything done anyway.
Why: Echoing Quiet author Susan Cain’s point that the loudest people don’t have the best ideas and can, in fact, hamstring the ideas generation process.
"Vocal, overconfident team members have a disproportionate influence while shy contributors lose faith in their own proposals,"
Solution: Make sure everyone involved notes their ideas and prediction before the discussion—and influencing—begins.
Why: “…downfall is often caused by project groups growing isolated and inward-looking, a symptom of the “unrealistic optimism that often bedevils creative teams.”“
Solution: “…air out reservations with a “pre-mortem,” a thought experiment where members forecast that their project fell apart in the future—and then backtrack to the present to find out why.”
f you’re having meetings, research suggests that you need them to be crisp. Jarrett notes a 2011 study that found that 367 American employees across industries didn’t care so much about how long a meeting lasted, but whether it started and ended on time.
And when in a week should you have a meeting? According to a 2009 analysis by scheduling service When Is Good, people’s flexibility peaks at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.
[Image: Flickr user Patrick Hoesly]
I’m no neurologist but I am now certain that the synapses in your brain like the familiar path. It’s fast and easy. Diverting hurts. While I consider myself an open-minded person, apparently I’m not as open as I thought. That’s like finding out you have a bad habit that you didn’t know you had. Great!
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