Meeting Manifesto: A Better Path to Productivity

Tue, Feb 13, 2024

I hate meetings.

Obviously, they’re an essential tool with an infinite number of use cases.

The problem is that most of the world misuses them with complete impunity. I say, “No more!” Henceforth, all meetings shall be optimized for maximum productivity. Here’s how…

Salman Khan (founder of Khan Academy) identified an idiosyncratic system pervasive in traditional schools: Teachers lectured the entire class so students could go home and do the work alone. This is backward, given that “the work” is where students need help.

The lecture is the least interactive part of the process. Students sit there and take in information. When it comes time to do the work, students need to collaborate, call upon the teacher for guidance, and answer questions.

Salman flipped the process.

Students watch the lectures at home (in place of homework) and compile their questions.


The classroom is saved for Q&A, discussion, collaboration, and doing the work, all of which benefit massively from the teacher’s supervision. Brilliant.

This same problem permeates meeting culture in business.

People will schedule meetings to present an idea that requires yet another meeting for questions and clarification and then additional meetings to begin making decisions and doing the work.

Instead, anyone who wants to schedule a meeting should be required to shoot a video presenting the reason for the meeting. The video is circulated among the proposed attendees, and everyone can watch it at their own time (and speed).

This forces would-be-meeting-holders actually to think through their request and prepare in advance. It also allows for asynchronous follow-up discussions via email, Slack, etc., for further clarification.


I expect this process would kill the need for most meetings.

If a meeting is deemed necessary, all attendees are informed about the context and purpose. In addition, the asynchronous communication phase has gotten the big block questions out of the way (or at least out onto the table). We’re now primed for productivity.

This pre-meeting process also ensures we can include everyone necessary to the discussion. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a meeting only to find out a critical attendee needs to be roped in and we need to schedule a repeat with that person present.


Meetings are expensive, cumbersome, and generally unproductive.

This process would help maximize their efficiency while discouraging their use as a “catch-all” tactic for people who want to kick the can on a task or are attempting to get others to do their work.

What do you think?

Is my approach to meetings too stringent?

What would you add/edit/delete regarding my proposed process?