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Meetings want to suck. Wrest control of them with this seven-step strategy.
You know when a meeting turns into a complete waste of time? Maybe you’re trying to come up with ideas, or make a decision. Before anyone realizes it, the meeting starts to suck.
Meetings want to suck. Two of their favorite suckiness tactics are group brainstorming and group negotiation. Give them half a chance, and they’ll waste your time, sap your energy, and leave you with poor ideas and a watered-down decision. But meetings don’t have to be that way.
On the Google Ventures design team, we dislike sucky meetings as much as anyone. We use a process hack that short-circuits the worst parts of groupthink while getting the most out of different perspectives. For lack of a better name, we call it the “note-and-vote.”
The next time you need to make a decision or come up with a new idea in a group, call timeout and give the note-and-vote a try.
How It Works>

Meetings want to suck. Wrest control of them with this seven-step strategy.

You know when a meeting turns into a complete waste of time? Maybe you’re trying to come up with ideas, or make a decision. Before anyone realizes it, the meeting starts to suck.

Meetings want to suck. Two of their favorite suckiness tactics are group brainstorming and group negotiation. Give them half a chance, and they’ll waste your time, sap your energy, and leave you with poor ideas and a watered-down decision. But meetings don’t have to be that way.

On the Google Ventures design team, we dislike sucky meetings as much as anyone. We use a process hack that short-circuits the worst parts of groupthink while getting the most out of different perspectives. For lack of a better name, we call it the “note-and-vote.”

The next time you need to make a decision or come up with a new idea in a group, call timeout and give the note-and-vote a try.

How It Works>

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…

So you better make them good. Here are 11 tips for having better meetings from some of the world’s most productive people, including Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Nilofer Merchant, Clay Shirky, and more.  
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 we’ve discussed, shared meals and drinks connect people—which, in turn, avails everyone involved to greater opportunities. In this way, a lot of coffee—and a little kindness—can launch a career.
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.
Read the full story here.

[Image: Flickr user Aurimas]

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 Coffeeand 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 we’ve discussed, shared meals and drinks connect people—which, in turn, avails everyone involved to greater opportunities. In this way, a lot of coffee—and a little kindness—can launch a career.

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.

Read the full story here.

[Image: Flickr user Aurimas]

Here’s Why Meetings Never Accomplish Anything- And 3 Ways To Fix Them

Don’t let loudmouths hold too much sway.
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.
Inject a little pessimism.
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.”
Watch the clock.
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]

Here’s Why Meetings Never Accomplish Anything- And 3 Ways To Fix Them

Don’t let loudmouths hold too much sway.

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.

Inject a little pessimism.

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.”

Watch the clock.

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!Finding topics that you can’t work up any interest in is not as easy as you’d think. But I was on a mission. A mission that led to mental stretching with subjects like…
THE CREATIVE BENEFITS OF EXPLORING THE UNCOMFORTABLE

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!

Finding topics that you can’t work up any interest in is not as easy as you’d think. But I was on a mission. A mission that led to mental stretching with subjects like…

THE CREATIVE BENEFITS OF EXPLORING THE UNCOMFORTABLE