The silent meeting trick Amazon execs swear by

At a time when so many of our calendars are crowded and our to-do lists are lengthier than ever, few people see meetings as a way to help them focus, Justin Bariso writes for Inc.

That's not the case at Amazon, he writes. Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, came up with a meeting tactic that he says not only helps employees to deeply reflect and focus, but it saves them time as well.

How it works

Once Bezos and his team of Amazon executives arrive for a meeting, they start by reading printed memos in complete silence, Bariso explains. During that time, meeting participants take notes and think. The memos can be up to six pages long and the period of silence can last for up to 30 minutes.

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The benefits

Bariso identifies several advantages to this meeting tactic. First, according to Bezos, the strategy ensures that participants give their undivided attention to the discussion after the silent period is complete. In addition, reading a complex, well-structured company memo can encourage participants to use clear and fluid thinking when expressing their ideas.

While the tactic may seem like it takes time away from the meeting, Bariso argues that it actually ends up savingyou time. When participants have time to prepare and collect their thoughts at the start of the conversation, he writes, there will be far fewer misunderstandings during the discussion.

While there are benefits to the approach, there might be some awkwardness the first time you try it, especially for new employees, Bariso writes. Many of them may never have had an experience where they can just sit silently and read in a room full of their superiors (Bariso, Inc., 9/18).

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