I think that's a fair comment, but, what I would say is:
The goal of a meeting with Jeff (or other senior leader at Amazon) is to make a high-quality decision on something that is generally non-obvious and involves complicated issues and significant risks. (If the answer to the decision at hand were obvious, the issues were simple, and the risks were limited, you'd just make the decision as a working team and move on (potentially with a email to your boss and other people who care, to let them know).
And, since (virtually) all meetings at Amazon use documents to accomplish the above goals, "not sucking at meetings with Jeff Bezos [and other senior execs]" is almost isomorphic to "writing a good Amazon document."
Your title is definitely catchier, though (sincerely!), so thanks for making me connect the above dots.
I'm currently reading a lot about technical writing and documentation, as we're started hiring into this direction. In this context I was curious about the article from a very narrow angle when clicking the link.
I still read it all and I do think you're reaching the goal of your article as outlined in the comment, so all good.
I just wanted to make a tldr kinda disclaimer to people that might be coming from my angle and being interested in stuff like documentation best practices and alike.
Having a consistent structure to meetings – with clear requirements such as a two page document in clear no-frills language detailing the reason for the meeting, background, questions and potential solutions etc. – may well seem draconian to many people these days, but I find it helps with focus and clarity. Combined with a clear vision (my number one ask from leadership) I think it really helps boost productivity even if it does take time to prepare. At least that cost is fairly easy to account for, whereas the follow-up cost to bad meetings often isn't. Crucially though, people must read the document prior to the meeting – no excuses – or you'll end up with the first half or third spent on just reading the document or having to recite it to those that haven't read it. It's perhaps still better than the subject line agenda style meetings, but possibly not by much.
This is very much a cultural thing. It's extremely difficult to apply to just your meetings. I've tried.
Amazon accounted for this:
"Each meeting requires a well-crafted, six-page memo that the whole room sits and reads at the start."
> This is very much a cultural thing. It's extremely difficult to apply to just your meetings.
This is so, so true. But keep trying, if you believe in it.
I think the points made in the post can be applied to much smaller setups. At least, if you are doing the opposite of what is proposed here (no prep, no data, wrong people, no honesty etc.) you’re guaranteed to never have effective meetings.