If you ever find yourself meeting with Jeff Bezos, don’t expect to talk to the billionaire Amazon founder first.
Before Bezos steps down as CEO of Amazon in 2021, he made a practice of letting his employees speak first. Now, his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez — founder of the Santa Monica, California-based aerial filming company Black Ops Aviation — says it’s one of the most important business lessons she’s picked up since the pair started a few years ago.
“Being with Jeff is like having a master class every day. He really taught me a lot about management,” Sanchez, a former television news anchor who guest-starred on ABC’s “The View,” recently said. recently told The Wall Street Journal.
For example, Bezos feels that managers should always speak last in business meetings.
“I hold a lot of meetings, and I speak first in a meeting, and [Bezos] Goes, ‘No, no, no. you’re the boss. You speak last. You let everyone else do the talking, so they don’t get swayed by your opinion,” Sanchez said.
In a 2018 speech, Bezos said that reshaping his company’s approach to meetings was “probably the smartest thing Amazon ever did”.
First, Bezos fired off a PowerPoint presentation. Instead, he closed each meeting with about 30 minutes of silence so that attendees could read a detailed memo covering the planned discussion topics. After that, Bezos offered his ideas on the memo to employees before defending against subordinates copying his approach to score with him.
The period of silent reading, Bezos said, “created the context for a good discussion.”
It’s also a way to make sure attendees actually read the memo, he said. Simply sending it via email isn’t enough: “Executives will bluff their way through the meeting as if they’ve read the memo, because we’re busy, and so you really have to take the time to read the memo,” he said. .
The memo also helps keep the meeting off-topic, Sanchez said — especially if you keep it as short as possible without missing any important details.
“Another thing he taught me is this: If you’re going to have a meeting, ask the person running the meeting to write a document about what you’re going to discuss and why. And it should be six pages.” cannot exceed.” Sanchez said.
Similarly, Bezos recommends keeping meetings as short as possible after reading periods are over, with Sanchez saying: “If you can, keep meetings under an hour.”
Several studies have found that spending too much time in meetings — whether they’re hour-plus marathons or back-to-back short sprints — can increase your stress levels and distract you from your work.
Other tech executives also like the way Bezos meets. For example, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey likes to start meetings with attendees reading notes from Google Docs for 10 minutes. Tweeted In 2018.
“This exercise gives everyone time to get on the same page, allows us to work from multiple locations, and achieves truth/critical thinking faster,” Dorsey wrote.
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