Three tell-tale signs that a meeting’s about to be rubbish

24th September 2019

You can often tell by reading an agenda whether a meeting will work. Here are three tell-tale signs…

1. AOB

Meetings should trigger one/both of the 2As – ACTIONS or AGREEMENT.

Therefore, the final agenda item ought to be “Actions arising”. In other words, “what have we AGREED on, and what ACTIONS are we doing next?”

But many agendas end with “AOB”. So, no AGREEMENT or ACTIONS. Just more talking.

2. Discuss

How do you know when you’ve finished discussing something?

You don’t. Therefore, when I see “discuss” on an agenda, I know we’ll spend too long on that item.

Instead, replace one of the 2As. So swap “Discuss X” to “Agree priorities and next steps with X.”

3. Update

Along with ‘FYI’, ‘Update’ is the word I hate most in Corporate Land. Because it usually leads to people talking too long, about stuff I don’t care about, giving detail I don’t need.

So, instead, say “best/worst/next”. In other words:

  • best thing that’s happened since the last meeting
  • worst thing that’s happened, and how you’ll overcome it
  • next thing you’re doing

Much shorter and more relevant.

Action Point

Review today’s agendas. If you have “AOB”, “discuss” or “update”, change them!

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