POV: How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings

When we find ourselves nodding along with an article, or screaming in disagreement, we start a dialogue.

This one hit home.

Based on David Grady’s TED Talk: How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings, here’s our point-of view (POV).

We’re nodding with you, David!

David Grady’s TED Talk: How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings


We would not let our peers steal our chair from our office, yet we allow them to steal something more valuable every day, our time.

We get meeting requests all the time for things we are “sort of aware of” without supporting information (background, agenda, objectives, etc.).

We are in the midst of a global epidemic: Mindless Accept Syndrome (MAS) – An involuntary reflex (occurs without thinking) to accept a meeting without even thinking why.

MAS is a self-inflicted wound. So, we can live to “meet another day”.

MAS is a result of well-intentioned but poorly executed efforts to collaborate and share.

The answer is “No MAS”!

Respond to unclear meeting requests with “Tentative” or “Maybe”. Then reach out politely (respectfully) to the requestor and ask for the background, agenda, and objectives for the meeting. Then determine if you will accept the meeting.

People will change their behavior about MAS once you start changing your behavior.


Collaborative intentions and technologies have exacerbated the miss-use (abuse) of time spend in meetings creating at best “collaborative distractions” from getting real work done.

Today’s “meeting etiquette” (F2F, Virtual) follows the Prado Principle (80/20 Rule). 20% of meetings are run successfully. The other 80% waste time, people, resources, and capital.

Successful meetings require three steps: pre-work/preparation, facilitation of the meeting, and recapping/follow-thru.

Ensure pre-work/preparation includes: Objectives (expected outcomes), Agenda (proposed use of time), Pre-work/reads for participants, & Type of participation that will be expected (active listening, dialogue, decision-making, etc.).

Assign co-owners to help facilitate: Owner #1 – keep the meeting on track (objectives, agenda), Owner #2 – capture meeting minutes, decisions reached, and follow-up actions.

Send a recap to all attendees that includes: objectives, agenda, attendees, decisions reached, actions to be taken with clear owners and dates to be completed.

Before scheduling a meeting ask yourself if it is really necessary. Most often than not, there is a more efficient/effective way to achieve the objectives (email, memo, survey, etc.)

“No MAS” starts by changing our own behaviors first. By going first, others will quickly follow.

Care to chime in? Leave us a comment and join the dialogue.

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