Ideas for Meeting Etiquette


Time spent in meetings is time spent not working on tasks. Meetings however are essential, but also must be structured and conducted in a way to ensure they are not wasting valuable time. A way of ensuring this is a robust “meeting etiquette”, i.e. rules of engagement to ensure that your time is not unduly wasted.

Another potentially more important part is to ensure time for “deep work”, there are number of articles and papers on “deep work”, its benefits and how essential it is to technical, complex activities to ensure high productivity and high quality output. For example, if your day is 30 minute meeting, 30 minute work time, 30 minute meeting, 30 minute work time, 1 hour meeting, 45 minute work time; you’re not going to be productive and reach a state of “deep work”.

This is where the “meeting etiquette” comes in, although it could be considered to be abrasive or obstructive, what it actually is more valuable, it gives you time, and by time “golden time” when “deep work” can take place on a regular and ongoing basis.

Meeting Statement

  • No more than 1 Hour of routine team meetings per day 09:00-10:00.
  • Exploratory or Supplier Meetings availability slot: 10:00-12:30, used for things like new requests or discussing activities.
  • No meetings in the afternoon (i.e. from 12:30 onwards) unless specifically part of an in-flight activity or activity we are working on (i.e. exploratory or supplier meetings will need to fall in the mornings.)
  • From 12:30 onwards everyday is reserved for “deep work” activities.
  • Any meeting requests that do not have an Agenda and/or Chair defined will be rejected.
  • A meeting needs to have a Agenda, and defined the Outcome of the meeting, e.g. “by the end of the meeting we will have a decision on X”, or “by the end of the meeting we’ll discussed and have an agreed next step on Y”, or perhaps “we’ll have worked together to do this particular task”.
  • The Chair of any meeting will need to ensure that the agenda is being kept to and the outcome (of the meeting) is delivered.
  • Any meetings that are felt to be too long for the specified will be rejected with more suitable length proposed.
  • When the agenda and outcome have been achieved or I feel there is no further need for me to be in the meeting, I will leave the meeting.
  • My and my team’s calendar are shared, when booking a meeting you are expected to review people’s availability before inviting them, if a person is already booked into a meeting or activity, then your meeting invite will be rejected, although the individual may suggest a different time or provide some windows of availability they have. – i.e. you will not expect that your clashing invite “trumps” what they have already booked or planned.
  • Work activities will always take priority over a meeting, if an individual cannot attend a meeting due to a pressing (operational) issue you may find they are unable to attend at short notice, as the meeting requester it would be up you to seek a replacement person if applicable.

Simple and effective rules to get the most out of the limited time available to you. When you look at those who are most successful, its not necessarily that they are the most skilled, or the most knowledgeable, or the most experienced, it is they are able to manage their time most effectively.

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