The Meeting Minute


Business Tips Archives - Less Meeting

The Importance of Starting and Stopping Meetings on Time

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The Executive Decree – “We will start meetings on time, and we will end meetings on time.”

At the beginning of my first meeting at a new client, I arrived early and picked my spot near the far corner of the conference room table (I prefer to sit near the corner of the table closest to the screen). The Executive Sponsor came in early and chatted with me for3-4minutes. I glanced at my watch a few times as various members of the client team tricked in a few minutes after the planned start time.Meeting Room

Once we had the team present, I started my introduction, but the VP stood up as I was about to begin and interrupted me. “Excuse me for one moment Brett … < dramatic pause >… I want to make one thing clear to everyone on this project: We will start meetings on time, and we will end meetings on time. We are all busy, and we need to respect one another’s time”.  He sat back down, and after about 10 seconds of awkward silence (which felt like an hour), I started up again “Thank you all for coming today. The objective of this meeting is…

To this day, the Executive Sponsor’s assertion on the importance of timely meetings sticks with me. He wasn’t mean, and he wasn’t trying to assert his authority, he was trying to make us better at an essential part of our jobs.

Why Is It So Important to Be on Time?

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How to Schedule a Meeting With Someone You Don’t Know

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So you are looking to schedule a meeting with someone you don’t know very well…


  1. What is the correct protocol to ask for a meeting?
  2. How do you get the meeting without seeming like a jerk?
  3. What if they turn you down?

These questions can cause you anxiety, especially if you’re an introvert who is not good at talking to new people (like me).

Below are my tips for how I approach getting a meeting with someone new:

How To Get A Meeting

1. Have Context

I generally avoid asking someone for a meeting that I don’t have context for. I define “context” as a point of reference… either you met them at an event, or you know someone who knows them, or you’re a big fan. Context is anything reason valuable enough for you to reach out to them.

Request a follow-up meeting on the spot

If I talk to someone at an event, I try to get a follow up while the conversation is still fresh.

Example: “I would love to chat more about ABC, would you be interested in grabbing coffee or lunch sometime this week?” If possible pull your phone out and send a meeting invite right away.

Write a note their business card

Make sure you write some information about the discussion on the back of the card to refresh your memory if you send out an invite later on. When you send out an email after an event, be sure to mention where you met them and what you discussed, e.g. “It was great meeting you at the fundraiser on Friday. I enjoyed chatting with you about ABC. Per our discussion, I would love to grab a meeting this week to chat more about ABC.” Read More

How to Follow Up on That Unanswered Meeting Request

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Sometimes simply scheduling the meeting can be the hardest part.

    You were at an event last night and met Brett. He had some awesome ideas to help your startup so you got his card and he suggested you get together soon.
    The next day you email him to schedule a meeting but you never hear from Brett again.

You know you need to follow up with Brett but don’t want to annoy him in the process, which may stop him from helping you at all.

photo credit (creative commons)

How Do I Follow Up With Brett?

What people don’t realize is why the other person – Brett in this example – didn’t respond to the initial email.

Perhaps he never intended to help me out, but that’s simply unlikely. And even if that’s the case, an extra follow-up can’t make it any less likely that he’ll respond.

Here’s what’s more likely:

  • He never saw my email among the hundreds in his Inbox,
  • He started to respond but got sidetracked and then forgot altogether, or
  • He has a laundry list of stuff to do, and meeting with me just isn’t a high priority

So it’s ok to send follow-ups…it’s even necessary.


The obvious next question is, What do I say to Brett?

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8 Meetings Worth Attending

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It’s no secret that leaders have differing views on meetings.  Some meet far too often, while others don’t believe in meeting at all. Frankly, it’s not about how often you’re meeting, but rather what those meetings are accomplishing.

We wanted to see what type of meetings work at successful businesses, so we asked Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner, David Cummings about how he creates a healthy meeting culture.

David Cummings

Image Source- Creative Loafing Atlanta

David has been an entrepreneur for over a decade. In 2001, David founded Hannon Hill, which was recognized as the 247th fastest growing company in the U.S. by Inc. magazine. In early 2007, David co-founded Pardot, which was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as the fastest growing technology company in 2010. Pardot was named to the Inc. 500 in 2012 and shortly thereafter Pardot was acquired by ExactTarget in one of the largest SaaS acquisitions ever of a bootstrapped company. Most recently, David founded the Atlanta Tech Village, which at 103,000 sq ft is the largest technology entrepreneur center in the Southeast.

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Words of Wisdom For The Project Manager

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This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Elizabeth Harrin about some of the pain points project managers face and how to fix them.

Elizabeth Harrin, MA, FAPM, MBCS is Director of The Otobos Group, a project communications consultancy specialising in copywriting for project management firms. She is the author of Shortcuts to Success: Project Management in the Real World, Social Media for Project Managers and Customer-Centric Project Management. She also writes the award-winning blog, A Girl’s Guide to Project Management. You can find Elizabeth online at or on Twitter @pm4girls.

As a project manager, what is the biggest problem you face in meetings? Read More

Stay Comfortable At Your Desk

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The business world used to be a lot more “active” 100 years ago. You’d hop on a horse and buggy to meet with potential customers, walk up several flights of stairs to ask your boss a quick question and eat whatever was in walking distance to your office.

Today, you don’t even have to leave your desk to get most things done. You can control the temperature of the room with the tap of your finger (with nest), have an instant conversation with your coworker half way around the world (with iChat), and have delicious food delivered to your door step by making a simple phone call.

Technology makes our lives significantly easier, but it also tends to confine us to one area- the desk. Mobile phones and iPads give us more flexibility, but according to ScienceDaily, the average adult still spends 6 hours a day sitting at their desk. It’s no wonder we’re getting arthritis earlier, hunched backs sooner, and exercising less each day.

You can help combat the negatives of desk-convenience by taking regular breaks, doing simple stretches, and utilizing well-designed products.

Here are a few of our recommendations:

1) The Aeron Chair 

If you’re going to be sitting for 6 hours a day, you might as well be comfortable. The Aeron chair was created by the master mind behind the famous Eames Lounger, Herman Miller. With over nine different adjustable positions, this chair can fit just about any body type comfortably. Designed to be ergonomically sound, these chairs significantly reduce body fatigue and enforce better posture .

The only downside is the price at $679, which may seem like a big upfront cost now, but your back will thank you in 20 years.

*Pro-tip: Search Craigslist to find them for half-off.

terra pro


 2) Standing Desks

The consensus best standing desk is NextDesk’s Terra. The Terra is incredibly easy to adjust, very well built, and available in a wide variety of options. At just over $1600, this can be quite expensive, but luckily there are other cost effective options as well.

The Ergo Depot AD17 adjustable height desk is a third of the cost, has a very clean design, and is a great option for smaller spaces.

3) Exercise Ball Chair

The exercise ball chair is great for strengthening your core while typing. Be careful with how you are sitting, as they have a tendency to roll away a bit more easily than a typical office chair, but at $79, this is easily the most cost effective solution to getting some much needed “bounce” to your day (zing!).

What types of office furniture / techniques do you use to stay comfortable at work?