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What is the link between Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and meetings?

by | Jun 5, 2017 | Workplace Wellness, Communication, Types of Meeting

Last Updated on 6 July 2022

Meeting, a word that sounds so bad for some people and to others, seems to be their main thing. There are those who just question in their mind all meetings they are invited to and those who need to have a meeting to discuss what we should discuss for the next meeting. In between these two extremes, there are those who silently, go to meetings hoping to invest their time better and have a follow-up on what was discussed and some of them do succeed to have those input and great follow-up to adapt their actions based on a decision taken.

A few years ago I came to the conclusion that the art of meeting is important for any manager in the action toolbox they should use to get their objectives achieved. And mainly, it is never taught in school and everybody assumes that they should know how it is run.

We all have a mixed feelings about meetings and here are some numbers to help you better understand their importance in the daily process of any organization but it’s in the large ones that the impact is bigger. I’ll come back on that aspect later but here are the numbers.


For a long period, it was believed that the number of daily meetings in North America was to be around 11 million and most were ok with this. A large study of the literature by Second Rise found that this number was outdated and not really accurate. After compiling many studies and extending the numbers to match the number of employees now working they found that there should be a minimum of 35 million to an extended number of 50 million. That’s a lot of meeting and time invested on something important but not done properly.

Between 35 and 50 million meetings are held per day

At the same time, another study from Ovum based on an interview done with a large number of manager found the number of one-to-one meetings is increasing every year and that it should be around half of the meeting that happens daily. Most of these meetings are usually unplanned with no follow-up related to them.

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On the business side of things now, meetings are important to achieve corporate goals and objectives. This is the moment where individuals should exchange, challenge themselves and make decisions for their organization to achieve their objectives. I don’t see how we can have fewer meetings; so we need to make it work better.

Where do Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama fit in this? Not yet, the link is later.

At the same time we all read or heard this new phrase: sitting is the new smoking. If you compare the impact of men and women that sit 6 hours instead of 3 per day, men have a 48% and women have 94% more chance to die than those who only sit 3 hours. This serious study is from the American Cancer Society study and was done in 2010. I am quite sure it got worse since most employees are more stressed and diabetes is more and more present.

The cost of employee insurance is on the table for everybody. The employee and the manager of all US and Canadian enterprise fear for the future since it looks like insurance cost seems to continue to go up and up. Mainly because most North Americans don’t exercise enough and they are stressed more than any other group of employees.

Walk and talk

Daily, we, as all of us, have more than 20 million meetings with less than 4 participants. We are used to sitting around the table desk to have our meeting since it has always been done that way. Instead of sitting down together why don’t you take a walk to exercise yourself. Some may want to call it a walk and talk but it is more than that it’s a walking meeting. The  Surgeon General and the Dietary guides for Americans 2015-2020 mentioned in their latest publication that walking meeting is a best practice at the workplace.

 Walking meeting is a best practice at the workplace.

And Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg in all this?

Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg are walking meeting early adopters. They understood early that meetings are important in any organization and since they were mostly busy all moment was good for them to have that meeting. But I think that these men understood the importance of being in good shape, that a 30 minutes walk will raise your imagination and your stimuli to better performed. We cannot argue that these men have to manage to outperform as individuals and also as the main manager of their organization.

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Walking meetings impact

We can see easily a direct impact on the financial result of their organization and the fact they have exercise while maintaining their functions. When you have a meeting with less than 4 and even if it’s 4, you can get up and prepare to have a walk, a walking meeting with our Beenote App.  Instead of taking with you a paper pad and a pen and even nothing, grab your phone and start your walking meeting with Beenote. While walking you can add subjects, notes, tasks, and decisions to an agenda with a simple click.

The main advantage we see is that you have a walk during your work time (during your paid period) you energize yourself and your colleagues to better perform afterward. Also, our tool will remember and make it easy for you to complete the minutes once back at your desk and share it by email to your colleagues with a simple click.

Our all-in-one meeting management tool will also help for all sizes of meetings and you and your organization will benefit from this approach.

Change your world, one meeting at a time with Beenote.

Louis Turmel
Louis Turmel

Serial Technology entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in managing and marketing of new technology. Beenote, 1st paperless meeting management portal for boards, committees and their teams.


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