Book Review: Meetings Matter

Copyright 2015 Dollar Photo Club by Rawpixel
Copyright 2015 Dollar Photo Club by Rawpixel

It is unusual when blurbs on book covers capture the truth about a book. I tend to read the blurbs with a large scoopful of salt. For all I care, they could be saying “The. Greatest. Book. Ever.” They tend to build false hope.

The blurb on the cover of Meetings Matter, by Paul Axtell, is just the opposite. The quote reads: “If I were running an executive development or MBA program, this would be mandatory reading.” I strongly agree.

From my perspective, there are two major themes running through the book:

First – to change your perspective of meetings. No, they are not all unnecessary and a waste of time. Where they seem to be a waste of time, it is generally because they are poorly done. Meetings are not a bad idea. That perception is generally the result of the poor use of an effective tool.

The author, Paul Axtell, breaks out what is at the heart of effective meetings: conversation and relationship. His in-depth explanation of how these create the foundation for meetings and life would be a solid course on its own.

The second major theme in the book is to encourage users to improve. In the main body of the book, additional chapters and the appendixes, Axtell gives the reader tools and examples on how to continuously improve their meeting facilitation skills and even improve their participation in meetings they did not schedule. The book could be a textbook for use in a number of MBA and Project Management courses.

Beyond the obviously themes, though is his intent to do more than just improve your ability to run meetings. Axtell also wants to improve the level of our attention, the quality of our listening and ultimately the quality of our lives.

Copyright 2015 Dollar Photo Club by Rido
Copyright 2015 Dollar Photo Club by Rido

He writes, “Conversations shape who we are. They shape our experience of life. We make decisions about what is possible for ourselves early in life, and most people can identify decisions they made about themselves based on what they were told or what was said in their presence.”

I am reading and rereading this book to learn more. My recommendation is to buy it and tell others about how good a book it is. Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.

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