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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Book Review: 70 Personal Strategies for Excelling at Meetings

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Everyone has probably seen the meme that shows a suited Samuel. L. Jackson at his first zoom meeting and then almost haggard looking and wanting to tear his hair out by the 100th zoom meeting.

Following the onset of the corona virus and the increasing number of meetings undertaken in a workday with the advent of zoom, this book is probably more relevant than ever.

For the author Bili Andrew Odum, the book is about how to get value from meetings. Meetings, any kind of meeting, represent opportunity according to Odum, and where there is opportunity, value is available to be unlocked.

When you view meetings as, ahem, a “necessary evil”, you would neither see nor exploit the hidden opportunities. There is no debate: you would be involved in very many meetings whether you like it or not! This means you might as well roll up your sleeves and optimise your involvement.

The book gives you implementable strategies for excelling at meetings with no fluff and fillers, it goes straight to the point.

“The 70 personal strategies have been boiled down to convey the point as precisely as possible. I recognise that time is a scarce resource and I want to optimise your reading time,” Odum says.

“Remember this, “Even good meetings can be better!”

Excerpts from the book

 Tony. O. Elumelu, CON Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria.

 “Without a doubt and I say this anytime I have the opportunity to do so, I run my businesses successfully through meetings. I am usually going for a meeting, in a meeting or coming from a meeting. On the average I would say that I spend up to 50 percent of my time in productive meetings because of the value I place on meetings.

I recognize that meetings, formal or informal, are important vehicles for mobilizing the troops, which is key for leading change, orchestrating growth, directing performance and building relationships. Indeed, I attribute a great deal of my personal and business advancement to the productive meetings I hold.

I would not be where I am today, if not for amongst other things the instrumentality and the defining outcomes of those meetings. I therefore do not take meetings for granted and I do my utmost to optimize every meeting opportunity.  Over the years I have learnt that excelling at meetings cannot be left to chance.

You must approach meetings with a plan and the seriousness it deserves. Having the right armory of best practices will put you in a position to do well at meetings and achieve your intended outcomes.

Since my initial meeting with Bili in 1996 where he interviewed for the role of Company Secretary, or legal adviser, in an investment banking firm, I have been in countless other meetings with Bili.

Indeed, Bili is suitably qualified to share these strategies for excelling at meetings. The strategies he so articulately captures in this well written book are proven. I have not only successfully employed some of them, I have seen others beneficially use them as well.

That said, I have observed poor performances at meetings too, evidently by those who are unaware of the proven strategies for excelling at meetings. This book ‘70 Personal Strategies for Excelling at Meetings’ would aid anyone who seeks to excel at meetings and who strives to do more in creating high value outcomes from meetings.”


Bili Andrew Odum

Bili Andrew Odum is the Group Company Secretary of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Africa’s Global Bank.

He holds an LL.B (Hons) Degree (Second Class Upper Division) and was enrolled as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1990. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom), the Nigerian Bar Association and the International Bar Association.

Bili lives and works in Lagos. He can be reached at [email protected]

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