We hate meetings that don’t have any value to them, but there’s a simple way to cure them.
First, know what your goal is. Have a plausible promise that is specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic, and time-bound. If you know what the goal is, you can measure a meeting’s success based upon how it moves you toward the goal.
Identify the goal of the meeting in relation to the plausible promise. We ought to hold a meeting at this date, and this time, for the purpose of deciding _x_, where _x_ specifically relates to the plausible promise in a clear, measurable and observable way. If you can’t state the goal of the meeting in a clearly related way, you’re not ready to hold the meeting.
Who can contribute to the goal of the meeting? Don’t request people who can’t or won’t.
What needs to happen in the meeting for the goal to be reached? Have a clear agenda. What are the decisions? What needs to be discussed?
Move the meeting toward the goal. Don’t wander aimlessly. I dislike brainstorming in a meeting. It doesn’t work. This article describes some of the reasons why. If you want to “innovate,” describe the problem, have people (on their own) imagine 3 to 10 solutions, and then bring the solutions to the meeting to discuss based on an evaluative criteria that everyone already knows.
When you reach the goal and have the decision, stop. And you’ll be able to do that, because you’ll know what the goal of the meeting is.
Based on this, you can “ruthlessly evaluate” the meeting.
When someone asks you for a meeting, ask: (1) what is the goal of the meeting? (2) how does it relate to our plausible promise (or, if you don’t use those terms, vision and mission)?