Book: The Hamster Revolution for Meetings

The Hamster Revolution for Meetings: How to Meet Less and Get More Done
Mike Song, Vicki Halsey, and Tim Buress, 2009

(This link is an Amazon affiliate link, but if you’re near a public library, take advantage of it. I borrowed this book from the Toronto Public Library. =) )

Reading voraciously—almost indiscriminately—has its benefits. Despite cheesy gimmicks, The Hamster Revolution for Meetings turned out to have surprisingly good tips that take virtual meetings into account.

Tips for all meetings are on page 20, paraphrased here:

  • P: Priority: Make sure meetings relate to your top goals for the year.
  • O: Objenda™: Make sure your meetings have a clear objective and an agenda that supports it. Use meeting templates to make sure you share the objective, agenda, and other details up front. As an organizer, have someone responsible for keeping the meeting on track. As a participant, take the initiative in helping the meeting stay on track.
  • S: Shorten: Shorten your meetings. Schedule 20-minute or 50-minute meetings to give people some breathing space.
  • E: E-vailable™: Make sure your calendar reflects all of your commitments. If possible, color-code your calendar to show priorities and balance.

For Web meetings, she suggested a number of things we already do (use Web conferences, chat channels, surveys, etc.). She added a few more tips I’m going to think about and try, including a Mystery team member icebreaker (p61). She also provides an excellent checklist for managing virtual meetings on p77, which include tips for preventing problems and controlling damage. The key ones I’m going to add to my routine are:

  • Arrive early: use the 30/15 Rule
  • Create a technical difficulties slide
  • Determine secondary communication plan
  • Have a disaster recovery plan

Worth reading and summarizing in your personal notes.

  • Greg Spears

    Sacha,

    Great review. Yes…a bit cheesy but definitely valuable tips for meeting in the information age. There is also a hamster revolution for email book that I highly recommend. Lately the authors have been dishing out BlackBerry advice which literally changed my life….here is an example:

    bit.ly/4FgJLw