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How to run effective meetings like Google, Amazon & Apple?

by | Feb 18, 2019 | Best Meeting Practices, Communication, Teamwork

Last Updated on 6 July 2022

It’s always inspiring to discover the work practices of big companies. They are synonymous of success and we, therefore, wish to be inspired by it, hoping, eventually, to have the same success.

We’ve already talked about Mark Zuckerberg’s tips for improving the efficiency of meetings at Facebook, but there are other practices borrowed from Google, Apple, and Amazon, which can certainly help you run effective meetings.

Basics of a successful meeting

First, here is a list of the best practices recommended by the majority of the big companies:

• It is essential to write a meeting agenda. If you want to have productive meetings, it’s the key. Sending the agenda in advance, get prepared participants who know the purpose of the meeting.
• At the end of a meeting, participants must leave the meeting with tasks to be completed and/or know the decisions and actions to be taken.
• Meetings must have a planned end. When a meeting has no intended end, it is easy to talk about several topics that are not necessarily relevant. It is therefore equally relevant to determine when it should end. People won’t feel like they’ve lost their time.

Now that we’ve looked at the basics, here are some more specific rules that some companies have put in place.

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The 8 Golden Rules of Successful Meetings at Google

At Google, having a good meeting means empowering people to make decisions, solve problems and share information. Above all, they do not want their employees to be demoralized by the waste of time and energy caused by bad meetings.

1. Each meeting must have a leader: a person in charge of decisions that will be taken.
2. The meeting must have a clear purpose and structure: interesting content, predetermined objectives, relevant participants and share the agenda 24 hours in advance, if possible.
3. Meetings that share information or brainstorming meetings must have a leader, otherwise, they are waste of time.
4. Hold a meeting only when necessary: Meetings must have a purpose, not just be a habit.
5. 8 people must attend a meeting, no more; send the final results to those (followers) who can benefit from the information.
6. Include only the people who need to take a position
7. Follow the scheduled time regarding the meeting agenda.
8. Be present, totally. This is not the time to do other tasks on your smartphone.

The Two-Pizza Team Rules at Amazon

It may sound pretty funny, but be aware that Amazon has banned the use of PowerPoint during meetings. Leaders feel that PowerPoint doesn’t allow in-depth discussions.

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In addition, meetings begin with a moment of silence to read memos called “Meeting narrative.” These four to six-page memos in the form of a speech are read at the beginning, followed by questions and discussion.

Also if you can’t feed your meeting team with 2 large pizzas, rethink your meetings! “We try to create teams that are no larger than we can be fed by two pizzas,” said Bezos. “We call the two-pizza team rule.” Too many people, too many opinions make it hard to make a final decision.

Hyper-Productive Meetings at Apple

At Apple, Steve Jobs has certainly left its mark in hyper-productive meetings. How?

1. Keep meetings as short as possible.
2. It is imperative that one person is in charge of each topic on the agenda.
3. Like its Amazon counterpart, PowerPoint presentations are banned; good face-to-face conversations are favored to share and defend ideas.

Do you copy these ideas for your next meetings?


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