A meeting culture must be focussed on people.

For a client, I created a presentation about different meeting cultures. In it, I show how a meeting takes place at Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon – GAFA for short. Finally, I explain how we organize our meetings in St. Oberholz.

Looking at the strategies of these four big companies is worthwhile. In a decentralized and interconnected working world, the physical meeting of colleagues is becoming more and more relevant. Because communication does not just take place verbally or in writing.

The GAFAs have different meeting strategies.

Google uses the meeting for creative work. The togetherness is there for the exchange among each other, not to make a decision based on a debate. This is always based on data. In the short meetings, the implementation is discussed and then allocated.

Apple keeps its meetings short and small. Only employees who have a reason to attend the meeting are present. In the meeting, decisions are made, which are then assigned to each employee for the solely responsible implementation.

Facebook focuses on the preparation of a meeting. A memo with the agenda is sent to all participants before the meeting. From time to time meetings also take place as a walk. This requires employees to be really prepared and is also healthy for them.

Amazon creates the basis for competent decisions. Everyone first reads a six-page memo that explains the topic, points out possibilities and makes suggestions. This prevents employees from pretending to be prepared and not working at the end.

The essence of a person must be taken into account.

This description of meeting strategies is shortened. There are, of course, even more, details in the design of a meeting. Also, there is not one meeting, but a multitude of occasions where employees meet and talk to each other.

But I was impressed that all these strategies focus on people and their behavior. Google avoids distraction, Apple doesn’t bore its employees with meetings, Facebook is enabling its employees, and Amazon shows understanding.

These four companies can be criticized for many issues, so my blog post is not one-dimensional to understand. And not every meeting is always precisely the same. Nevertheless, I am impressed that in these companies the employee is seen above all as a person.

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