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Technology & Innovation

How to Master the Business Meeting

Small groups of people have better ideas and get more done. Making sure meetings are populated only by people who have something to contribute is essential to good business. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Having been a close collaborator with Steve Jobs for over decade, Ken Segall learned how to effectively use business meetings to inspire workers and move projects forward. The most important rule of thumb is to only open meetings to those who have something to contribute, not simply to anyone whose work is tangentially related. “There’s no such thing as a ‘mercy invitation,'” said Segall, who himself had been thrown out of meetings at his own agency after coming simply because he was invited. “Either you’re critical to the meeting or you’re not. It’s nothing personal, just business.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Simplicity is the biggest lesson that Segall says he learned from Jobs. Small groups of people have better ideas and get more done.  And when Segall explains that concept to business leaders, he rarely gets pushback. The problem, he says, is that a company’s cultural inertia takes the reins and good ideas become subordinate to the phrase “That’s not the way we do things here.” Segall’s other two rules of thumb for meetings are (2) to walk out if it lasts more than 30 minutes and (3) to do something productive the day of a meeting to make up for time you spent there. 

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