Read this Before Our Next Meeting – GoTo Meeting Webcast

Today I listened to GoTo Citrix Webcast with Al Pittampalli about new standard of meetings. He was promoting his new book ¨Read this before our next meeting, the modern meeting standard¨.  This is purely my own opinion of the book and the webcast.

I have sat and minuted in my life approximately 200 meetings, Executive Committee meetings, Supervisory Board meetings, Advisory Board meetings, MT meetings, Staff Council meetings, in short many meetings at varying levels. Admittedly they have all been in Europe, but most of them were multinational.

And in all honesty, I have only experienced what Pittampalli describes in one organization and the management of that organization was very clearly bad. Now, I may have been very lucky or Pittampalli may have been overdoing it a bit to get his point across. Because he does have good points. Very good points.

Pittampalli states that meetings kill our sense of urgency and create a culture of compromise (nice alliteration) . This is something that I from a personal perspective have to disagree with. Generally the meetings I have attended were to learn from each other and to help each other move the company forward. I may have been very lucky that these meetings always had great chairmen.
His good points are where he – in my humble opinion – goes back on his own words. He says that conversations, brain storm sessions and group work sessions aren´t meetings. In other words, don´t stop meetings just give them a different name.

His thoughts and ideas about limiting the number of people in the meeting, supporting a decision that has already been made, should move fast and is not informational (that is what pre-read is for) are all really good tips on holding effective and efficient meetings. I agree with these 100% and they make the book a valuable read.
I am sorry to see that he didn´t include virtual meetings such as webcasts (ironically). The subject did come up during the webcast but in my opinion wasn´t answered carefully enough. I´m not sure Pittampalli really thought it through.

Virtual meetings, more than face-to-face meetings, lend themselves to the traits Pittampalli mentions. There is no reason to move from your desk to attend the meeting, so no reason to stop working and because of that there is little incentive to pay attention to the meeting. Neither is there any incentive to actively engage and move the meeting forward. A virtual meeting needs different rules of engagement and a very powerful chairman.

All in all the webcast was very well organised with a good slideshow, the opportunity to ask questions, sufficient time taken to answer the questions and no technical interuptions.

I will be looking forward to next week´s webcast with Pittampalli and Seth Godin, no less.

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