How to measure a meeting


I’ve been in a meeting today!

How can I tell how successful the meeting was?

Measure it! With numbers!

-it was held in room 42
-it lasted 75 minutes
-there were 10 people
-there was 1 PowerPoint
-I ate 2 mini doughnuts and 2 shortbread biscuits.

Not good enough, is it? How about we get technical!

The above picture is the back of the PowerPoint handout, I did a control chart on it of the amount of bullet points per slide. It includes all my workings out, but don’t bother checking it, it’s wrong. (£5 to anybody who can spot why and tell me in the comments).
It shows us they’re predictably heavy users of bullet points.
Here’s the headlines

-an average of 4.5 bullet points per slide
-a range of 2 to 9 bullet points in the whole presentation
-a predictable upper limit of 10.75 bullet points per slide.

This is an indicator of a dull meeting, which I already know, given the amount of time I devoted to my workings out.
But enough with the techno-babble, where’s the full story?

Let’s get qualitative!

2 people said the meeting was “interesting
– The same 2 people said it was “informative“.
-There were 0 questions asked afterwards.


God yes, it is silly. But if you don’t know why you’re in the room, why do it at all?

Go back to purpose, the purpose of why you come to work. Now what’s this meeting for? How does it help purpose? Does it at all?
Does the doughnut eating help?

No, but if you know why you come into work in the morning, then you can work out whether a meeting has a point to it.
If it isn’t pulled to help with purpose, no need. If it IS, then you’ll know what it’s for.

If you don’t have a purpose in your organisation, then any of those silly measures above would do, for the meeting, for the work outside it, for the Strategic Scoreboard measures. ANYTHING GOES WITHOUT PURPOSE.

So why not doughnuts?


We have a target of 11 doughnuts to be eaten per meeting. So we throw one IN THE BIN. Everytime.

This entry was posted in command and control, public sector, purpose, thinking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to How to measure a meeting

  1. Fat Jacques says:

    Most of my work meeting are now by conference call and net meeting. With a 2 screen set up I can get on with something useful while people witter on.

    We have recently changed the email system, so I can get email on my phone. This allows me to do something useful in a real meeting, too.


  2. Jo Wenborne says:

    Your adding up may be a bit wonky but your thinking isn’t!


  3. Purple Blotch says:

    Well in that case you can count your lucky stars that you will never become a performance management manager.


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