If you're a seasoned business executive or one of their dedicated employees, there's a good chance you dislike unnecessary meetings.
With so much to do during the workday, meetings that run long can be frustrating. They can interrupt your productivity, waste your time, and have you wondering how (or if) anything ever gets accomplished.
Even the most successful person is no stranger to the extraneous office meeting. But business leaders in every industry have their own methods for securing meeting efficiency.
Richard Branson, CEO and founder of Virgin Group, conducts his meetings standing up in order to keep them brief. "I've never been a fan of long meetings cramped up in offices. The aversion probably comes from countless stressful nights spent in boardrooms in the early days of Virgin, convincing the bank not to shut us down," he writes in his blog.
For Branson, standing during meetings is "a much quicker way of getting down to business, making a decision, and sealing the deal." When given the chance, this CEO enjoys taking meetings while walking--he will even challenge himself to think of a plan of attack in the time it takes to walk around the block.
Meanwhile, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook has a rather unique approach to dealing with meetings. According to Fortune, Sandberg runs her meetings with the help of a simple spiral-bound notebook where she keeps lists of discussion points and action items. If each item is done 10 minutes into an hourlong meeting, the meeting ends. This method keeps meetings succinct, focused only on the tasks at hand.
In comparison, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk prefers to be ruthless about which meetings he will lend his time and energy to. He explains that, "Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time." He advises Tesla employees to, "Get [out] of all large meetings, unless you're certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short."
Musk even advises walking out of meetings the moment you realize you are not adding substantial value. "It is not rude to leave," the billionaire inventor reasons. "It is rude to make someone stay and waste their time."
Effective and efficient meetings require you to plan ahead and to be firm. Before meetings, make your objective clear, stick to the schedule, and consider the meeting methods these business leaders use on their own roads to success.