Meetings that should be e-mails, and e-mails that should be meetings

Image from

Image from

When I saw this ribbon by artist and designer Will Bryant, I knew I had to write about meetings that should be e-mails, and e-mails that should be meetings.

Quality leaders make the best use of meetings and e-mail communications. They understand that meetings should be devoted to more important matters, especially when discussion and active deliberation are merited. At times, this may include uncomfortable or tense dialogue, but good leadership is all about working through such exchanges.

Weak leaders, however, are more likely to apply these rules of thumb: Avoid tough topics in meetings by stuffing the agenda with information, announcements, and presentations on comparatively minor subjects. Save the important and difficult topics for e-mails, especially if there’s anything smacking of bad news or controversy. Make it harder for people to ask questions, raise concerns, or offer comments.

If you’re in a dysfunctional institution, especially in academe or the non-profit sector where larger group meetings are standard fare, then you may know exactly what I mean. Bad use of meeting time is a practice truly deserving of a ribbon.


You may order Will Bryant’s ribbon for yourself and loved ones here — only $3.50 plus s&h!

Hat tip to Laura Puchtell Barclay for the heads up on the ribbon.

One response

  1. Pingback: Effective Meetings & Effective Emails | Musings-on-Incident-Planning-and-Ops

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