Emerging Technology

Google chief Larry Page to skip I/O Conference – here are a few of his tips to run meetings more efficiently

Engel Schmidl /

The tech community was taken by surprise this week when Google chief executive Larry Page said he wouldn’t be attending the company’s annual I/O Conference this week – and the search giant is remaining remarkably coy.

 

However, in an email to employees, Page has apparently written there is “nothing seriously wrong with me” and that he would “continue to run the company”. As far as Google has confirmed, Page has simply lost his voice.

Still, missing a few meetings here and there is one thing, but Page missing out on I/O – the company’s biggest conference of the year where it regularly debuts new products – is a shocking revelation.

Of course, I/O is larger than the usual meeting or board conference. But Page has actually been critical in implementing a new standard of meetings at Google as part of his tenure as chief executive in order to promote more efficiency and productivity. That goes for conferences as well.

It’s all part of Page’s plan to make Google a more streamlined company, down to the individual level. And while I/O may be too big to adopt some of his recommendations, there are some good pointers for SMEs here. If the chief executive is out of the picture for a while, sticking to these principles can ensure the quality of work doesn’t decline.

So here are a few of Page’s tips to help you out:

1. Have a clear decision-maker

Every meeting should have someone who’s driving the discussion. Google implemented a rule whereby if a meeting didn’t have a clear decision-maker, then that meeting shouldn’t happen at all.

Too often meetings can get sidetracked into meaningless discussion, and you’ll never achieve anything. Having a clear decision-maker means you can get through the agenda quicker and everyone can be more productive as a result.

2. No more than 10 people

Too many people at a meeting leads to frustration. You don’t have enough time to let everybody speak, and that means you may be missing out on crucial ideas. Google has introduced a new guideline whereby there should not be more than 10 people at a meeting – and everyone has to contribute.

Look around your meetings and decide who is and isn’t contributing. If there’s no reason for them to be there, then they need to be doing other work.

3. Meetings shouldn’t always be necessary

All too often a meeting is scheduled for a decision that doesn’t require one. If you need to make a decision immediately, then don’t wait for a meeting. The inverse is true – a meeting shouldn’t be put off if the decision is critical. Determine what the situation requires and then make an immediate decision, whether or not a meeting is needed.

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