Table of contents:

How to schedule meetings to make them effective
How to schedule meetings to make them effective

Don't waste your time.

How to schedule meetings to make them effective
How to schedule meetings to make them effective

You may not like meetings, but you still have to hold them. This is an essential part of the workflow in any company. One way to make appointments more useful and quicker is to schedule them carefully. The book by Olga Demyanova, Doctor of Economics, “Fast and effective meetings. From preparation to obtaining the desired result."

With the permission of the publishing house "Alpina PRO" Lifehacker publishes an excerpt from the second chapter.

Meetings themselves are not a problem. They are even necessary and are a managerial attribute of power. You need to get rid of prolonged useless and ineffective gatherings.

The most common types of meetings:

  • weekly;
  • strategic;
  • workers;
  • reporting;
  • planning meetings;
  • brainstorming;
  • business conversations and meetings;
  • briefings.

All of these types can be grouped into four main groups:

  1. by duration: fast (up to 30 minutes) and protracted (more than one hour);
  2. by the number of participants: up to 10 people or more;
  3. by purpose: working, political and informational;
  4. by time: planned and unplanned.

Meeting Scheduling Required Attributes

What to plan for:

  • goals;
  • agenda;
  • list of invitees;
  • schedule;
  • information materials;
  • responsible for keeping the protocol;
  • time limit for speeches.

First and foremost, the leader must consider the objectives of the meeting. This is the starting point for the agenda and the list of participants, time and regulations.

The main objectives of the meetings:

1. New information - for the information meeting:

  • important news and policy changes;
  • discussion of plans and strategies;
  • short-term forecasting;
  • presentation of new products and approaches;
  • discussion of the budget;
  • personnel issues.

2. Monitoring events and making operational decisions - for regular meetings:

  • main risks and difficulties;
  • parameters for assessing progress;
  • assessment of key processes and necessary changes;
  • discussion of what is happening: what is going well, what needs improvement;
  • key lessons and results of actions;
  • coordination of efforts;
  • communications.

3. Motivation - creative meetings, development of new approaches and team building:

  • motivation for action;
  • collective decision making;
  • honoring individual and collective success.

Thus, the purpose affects the type of meeting and the model for organizing it. For example, briefing sessions differ in the number of participants and the length of time. Regular ones are of a planned nature, they are faster in time and with a limited number of participants. Creative meetings require special preparation: organizing furniture (usually separate tables), tea, coffee and informal setting; do not require adherence to the dress code.

Eisenhower Matrix for Ranking Meeting Questions

It must be remembered that a meeting is a platform where important decisions are made and problems are overcome. The Eisenhower Matrix is the field where all problems and questions are collected. They are ranked in terms of importance and urgency.

Urgently Do not rush
Important A B
No matter C D

Square A: important and urgent matters

The square of important and urgent matters should be empty or small. This will indicate that you are meeting the due date. If there are many such cases, this is a sign of disorganization. Examples of cases that can be squared:

  • cases directly related to your functional duties and affecting your performance;
  • cases, the failure of which may create problems;
  • matters related to health and psychological climate in the team;
  • matters affecting the safety of the team;
  • cases, the results of which need to be coordinated or presented to your management.

Square B: important but not urgent matters

When assignments or matters have no urgency and there is no specifics when they must be completed, the executor himself assigns the timing. This square includes all the things that relate to your functionality in the enterprise, the things that you do on a regular basis, and, as a rule, their implementation is tied to the general schedule at the enterprise (for example, preparation of final reporting). Research assignments, which require a certain amount of time, can be attributed to such cases, but the amount of labor costs is unclear until the moment of completion. The tasks of the first and second squares should be constantly monitored, and therefore it is advisable to include them in the agenda of the meetings.

Square C: urgent but unimportant business

These are distractions. Often, they simply interfere with focusing on important tasks and reduce efficiency. Always remember your goals and learn to distinguish between the important and the secondary.

It is worth entering into this square:

  • meetings or negotiations imposed by someone from the side;
  • discussion of issues that can be resolved by subordinates;
  • discussion of non-business issues;
  • discussion of abstract topics.

Square D: non-urgent and unimportant matters

Cases in this category do not promote you in projects, but they distract you from working on them.

  • do not bring any benefit at all;
  • it is useful not to deal with them at all;
  • Time eaters.

For each goal, the leader asks the following questions:

  • Who has the information and knowledge regarding the issue under consideration?
  • Whose interests does this issue affect?
  • On whom does the decision depend?
  • Who needs to know the information to be discussed?
  • Who will implement the decisions taken?

You can use the 99/50/1 methodology when scheduling project meetings.

You can use the 99/50/1 methodology when scheduling project meetings
You can use the 99/50/1 methodology when scheduling project meetings

The leader organizes meetings at three important points in the project:

  • at the start - to immerse all participants in the pace of the project and for team building of the group;
  • at an intermediate stage - to discuss the results of the work done and further adjustments, if necessary;
  • at the finish line, when 1% of the total volume remains to be realized - for preliminary summing up.

This timing will help you make better use of your time in meetings.


Agenda is a plan of tasks to be solved at the meeting. It is necessary to clearly define the time for each speech, allocate a separate time for discussion and feedback from all participants.

When planning the timing of your meeting, it is important to consider the following:

  • the importance of the item on the agenda;
  • the time limit for each performance;
  • breaks if necessary;
  • 20% of the time for additional important information.

The agenda is sent to all meeting participants.

Agenda with fixation of time and specifics of speeches

  1. Results of work on the conclusion of contracts. I. Ivanov's report (15 minutes).
  2. Problems in the transport of supplies. I. Petrov's report (15 minutes).
  3. Results and plans of project work. T. Sidorov's report (20 minutes).

Beginning at 11:00.

End at 12:15.

You need to train yourself to have quick and effective meetings!

Your time guidelines:

Important and urgent 12 minutes
Important and non-urgent

24-36 minutes

Urgent and important: 12 minutes - the Pareto principle works here: 20% of the time creates 80% of the result, with an average meeting of one hour (60 minutes), the most productive time is 12 minutes (20% of 60 minutes).

Important and non-urgent: usually planned. The effective time for these meetings is 24–36 minutes. The 60/40 method works here, according to which, when drawing up a plan for the day, 40% of the time should be left free, 60% should be allocated for planned work, including 20% for "unpredictable" and 20% for those that arise spontaneously or become accompanying.

With an average meeting time of one hour (60 minutes), the time for planned important but non-urgent matters is 24–36 minutes (40–60% of 60 minutes).

Unimportant and urgent Delegation and control by phone and other means of communication, no more than three minutes for control.
Unimportant and non-urgent Delegation and control by the management, no more than one minute per delegation.

List of invitees

The optimal number of participants in quick meetings is 5-7 people. 8 to 12 people are acceptable if the meeting leader has facilitator skills.

For generating ideas, setting goals and flyings, the ideal composition is no more than 15 people.

There is an unspoken rule at Google - the maximum number of participants is no more than 10.

Amazon has a two-pizza rule: there should be as many people in a meeting as you can feed two pizzas.

There is a rule 8-18-1800:

  • no more than 8 people - solving work issues;
  • no more than 18 - brainstorming, collective problem solving;
  • up to 1800 people - information and the opportunity to communicate.

A study by Bain and Company says that in decision-making groups, adding more than seven of each participant results in about 10% less efficiency.

The persons directly responsible are obliged to participate in the meetings.

Apple lists the name of the person in charge next to each meeting item. Thus, each employee has a clear area of responsibility within the framework of the assigned assignment.

How to schedule meetings to make them effective
How to schedule meetings to make them effective

If you often organize meetings, this book will definitely come in handy: Olga Demyanova offers 16 methods and four tools for studying that will help increase the effectiveness of all participants in such meetings.