Most companies, even small ones, have far too many meetings. While some meetings (planning sessions, brainstorming, etc.) are worth the effort, there are three generic types of meeting that are best to avoid if possible.

1. Product positioning sessions.

These take place when marketers try to decide upon the buzzwords that they'll use to characterize the company's product inside the company's marketing materials.

For example, a CRM vendor might hold meetings to decide whether to call a product Sales Force Automation, Sales 2.0, or a Sales Productivity Platform.

Such meetings are useless because customers have little to no interest in product categories; they just want to know what your product can do for them.

Furthermore, if you decide upon a buzzword that's not already well-understood in your industry, you're taking on the additional burden of explaining the buzzword.

For example, you decide that your email marketing software is a "lead enablement system," you've only added an extra head-scratch to every presentation.

2. Group writing sessions.

This is when people from different groups get together to craft a document (typically short) that's acceptable to all the stakeholders.

For example, two competitors about to announce some cockamamie "strategic alliance" might hold a meeting to craft the exact wording of the press release.

Group writing is useless because it inevitably result in mush-mouth pap whose only saving grace is that it's vague and inoffensive.

I need hardly add that mission statements are the apotheosis of group writing, which is why they're usually so dreadful.

In business, ideas either make sense or they don't. Good ideas are easily explained. Crafting a message to justify a dumb idea is like hiding manure in a gift bag.

3. Biz-blabbery sessions.

Avoid any meeting where the invitation or meeting description contains any of the following words or phrases:

  • artificial intelligence
  • big data
  • breakthrough
  • cloud-based
  • cognitive computing
  • digital economy
  • disruptive innovation
  • empower
  • enablement
  • greatest invention since
  • go-to-market
  • holistic
  • information age
  • information economy
  • infrastructure
  • internet of things
  • millennial
  • mindset
  • organizational DNA
  • paradigm
  • peer-to-peer economy
  • sharing economy
  • the next Facebook|Google|Uber etc.
  • transformational
  • value proposition


If any one of these fuzzy-minded concepts is provided as a reason for attending a meeting, you can bet your bottom bit-coin that at least one wind-bag will be exhaling a load of useless gas.