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(or, How to Vastly Improve Your Group Productivity)

Meetings suck.

At least, most meetings suck. That’s the consensus anyway.

Laborious, inefficient, and draining.

So, how do you make your next meeting suck less?

Here’s a super simple hack that’ll vastly improve your next meeting’s productivity.

24-48 hours prior, send out an email or memo with two points.

First, provide a brief summary of your meeting’s central purpose. Keep it short: just one to two sentences at most. Only include the one key objective: the meeting’s must-accomplish takeaway or action item.


Ask for each attendant to respond to at least one of three questions:

1.  What am I most concerned about?

2.  What opportunities do I see?

3.  What accomplishments should be recognized?

Remember: they only have to respond to one. And let everyone know that their answers will be anonymous in the meeting itself.

After you get the responses, craft your agenda around the central purpose you identified and use the three questions to structure the rest: concerns, opportunities, and accomplishments.

Even better, incentivize responding either by carving out company time to complete the questions or by genuinely rewarding everyone who writes back.

Not only does this simple hack improve buy-in and participation … it gets the real issues out on the table, the issues people are often reluctant to discuss openly.

On top of that, it gives you time to craft your meeting based on what’s really going on.

Oh, and it makes meetings suck less.

Full disclosure: I stole this hack from Marty Edelston’s recently released interview with the always-amazing Joe Polish. You can listen to the whole thing here: “Insider Secrets of a $100 Million Dollar Company.”

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