The Modern Meeting Principle 6: Refuses to be Informational. Reading Memos is Mandatory

Today is the sixth day of my week long series about the 7 Principles of Modern Meetings, which come from Al Pittampalli’s excellent book on the topic, “Read This Before Our Next Meeting.”


The day your company institutes the Principles of the Modern Meeting is the death of the informational meeting.  The key to the Modern Meeting is that it is about a decision.  All the work to make a decision needs to be done beforehand.  This means that leaders need to meet with potential attendees to hash out decisions and then communicate those decisions, information, and pre-work to the other potential attendees.  This process all hinges on the people involved to actually read the memos.

As Seth Godin writes about in his great blog about PowerPoint, Really Bad Powerpoint, “Yes, you could send a memo, but no one reads anymore.” The Modern Meeting can not survive without people reading memos.  It’s a key area of the corporate culture that needs to change.  Ask yourself, “What would you be willing to do to save yourself a lot of time and money?” Isn’t a little reading worth the time and effort you’ll save by not having informational meetings.   That’s the agreement leaders and attendees need to make.

This agreement needs to be taken seriously because the agreement is fragile and can be easily undone by a few individuals.

The last part of this principle is probably the most important.  It’s about how you should send out a memo.   The leader needs to give the attendees something worth reading.  The memo needs to effectively share your complete thoughts to the attendees.  The memo needs to be worth the attendees time.  It’s really no different then the purpose of the Modern Meeting.  We’re trying to do all this work to save time in unproductive meetings.  The memo needs to be worth your attendees time to read and respond.  Needs to tell everyone that this memo needs extra attention without ruining their trust.

Tomorrow will be my final post of the Seven Principles of Modern Meetings: Works Alongside a Culture of Brainstorming.


This blog post is from the Seven Principles of Modern Meetings which can be found in this great book:

Pittampalli, Al (2011-08-03). Read This Before Our Next Meeting (p. 40). AmazonEncore. Kindle Edition.