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Productivity Hacks: Make the Meeting Count

Arne SorensonToday's post is by Arne Sorenson, President and CEO at Marriott International, and was published originally on LinkedIn. It is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers share their secrets to being more productive. See all their #productivityhacks here.


We all complain about meetings – too many, too long, too boring. But an effective meeting and presentation can be the most productive way to convince your colleagues and get the job done.

As a CEO, I've seen all kinds of presentations and been in all kinds of meetings. The most effective presenters share a few things in common.

They avoid endless review of the obvious and get to the heart of the matter. By all means, use visuals. Dump the handouts that plow through familiar territory. If you're at the table, we expect you have the data to support your conclusions. Sometimes, you'll need a report, but move as fast as you can to get to the point of your pitch or the specifics of the issue that needs debate and discussion. The meeting will be shorter, more interesting and much more productive.

Speaking of being at a table ... meetings are not about a table and chairs. Envision presentations as a performance. Rethink the space as your stage. Instead of conference room 200B, have everyone meet in the showroom or at the fire pit or on the roof. Use a color palette, use music, use a hands-on demonstration. Executives are people too. They'll get more excited about your idea if they are excited by your presentation.

If you're attending a meeting, stay focused. No multitasking or smartphone checking while your colleagues present. My company has done research on how people work and found that multitasking can create such distraction that a person will lose the equivalent of 10 IQ points when they try to juggle the tasks in front of them. Nobody wants to look dumber in front of the boss.

Of course, it's a given that presenters are prepared and offering a great idea. Just make sure to share it in a way so that no one will miss your Next Big Thing.

What makes your meetings effective and productive? Share your thoughts in the comments section. 


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Barclay Pollak

Surveys show that companies waste an average of 20 percent of their payroll on bad meetings!

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