Today and tomorrow, we will share two experiences that formed The Morning Adam™‘s approach to running effective meetings.
The first goes back about 15 years, during our Editor-In-Chief’s time in MBA school.
One of his courses was a management course taught by a gentleman named Thomas J. Murrin, who was just the sort of adjunct instructor a true MBA student gets their money’s worth from.
Mr. Murrin, having served as an executive at Westinghouse, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and on numerous corporate boards of directors, had not only DONE what business schools teach, but had also helped shape the current environment of business.
The way Mr. Murrin’s course at Duquesne University worked was, the entire class was broken up into groups of 6 or 7. Each week one of those groups would present on an assigned topic. The presentation would run for 20 minutes.
Our Editor-In-Chief was part of a group that presented on the topic of Board Governance – a topic near and dear to Mr. Murrin’s heart.
He gushed at the group’s explanation of the difference between “board governance” and “bored governance.”
He Told Everyone He Loved Our Presentation The Most – But Gave It The Worst Grade Of The Class
It got a B+ but every other presentation that semester got an A or an A-.
We knew this because at the beginning of each class, he announced the previous group’s grade to the entire class.
Why a B+ you may ask?
Mr. Murrin wanted 20-minute presentations.
Not 19 minutes, not 21 minutes.
Those A- presentations had run 19 or 21 minutes.
The Board Governance presentation ran 27 minutes – and got a B+ for it.
The Morning Adam™ Was FURIOUS.
He thought of dropping the class in protest. He even spoke with the dean of the business school about it.
But then, he realized three incredibly important lessons that have served him well as an entrepreneur:
- When you call people to a meeting, you are asking for permission to take up their time. They grant it by showing up and playing full-tilt once they arrive.
- People in the meeting know exactly how much time they grant you – the moment you take up more time, you’re intruding into their time. It’s impolite and disrespectful. At Minute 61 of a one-hour meeting, your voice fades to a babble and all they hear is the ticking of their watch.
- Once you disrespect someone, they’ll gleefully shoot the messenger and discount the value of the message.
With this in mind,
That Fury Became A Passion For Effective Meeting Management
Years later, The Morning Adam™ learned to leverage this lesson and apply it to online marketing, especially the concept of permission-based marketing.
When someone permits you to enter their space and take their time, use it wisely. Respect it.
And don’t tolerate excessive meetings and jibber-jabber used to create the appearance of activity that just puts off actual action.