5 Ways to Better Meetings


Meetings. Every company has them—far too many of them. They take time, disrupt flow and many times seem unnecessary. So how can leaders create better meetings?

Let’s begin by looking at the different meeting types:

Show-and-Tell. Often lethally dull gatherings as the manager/leader treats these meetings as informational. They make announcements or gather information from the team on operating results, project status, etc.

Advise-and-Counsel. Usually highly participative as team members jump in to offer their opinions and push for solutions. The leader is a key influencer. If they are open, the team feels better about joining the discussion, if no decision is made without the leader’s final agreement anyway, the meeting is another potential time-waster.

Brainstorming. These are gatherings for ideas and. Too often the leader shuts down discussion and “ideation” because they take too firm of a lead. These meetings need patience especially if the employees are Introverted (see my post).

I’m sure there are more types, but this is enough to lay out some ways to improve meetings.

  1. Leaders should look at meetings as a way to make joint manager-employee decisions on key issues. If the leader is simply maneuvering the group to a predetermined decision, it’s crazy to take time just to give people the feeling they are truly involved. They will either cave in, only bring up things to make points with the boss or tune out. Meetings are an opportunity to learn and make quality decisions.
  2. Have an agenda. Introverts love agendas and your meeting needs something so it doesn’t get derailed. Give people the security of knowing you as the leader know what you want and where the time will be spent.
  3. Have a purpose. Just pontificating your thoughts isn’t inspiring or helpful. If a meeting can’t have a purpose, cancel it. “Just because we’ve always had staff meeting,” isn’t a good answer. It’s a time waster and morale depressor. People are busy. Honor their time and energy to get something meaningful done.
  4. Schedule the right amount time. If you schedule an hour, chances are the meeting will take an hour. Can you get the same agenda accomplished in 30 minutes? How about 15? Let the time you schedule match your agenda and purpose.
  5. Review action items and follow up. Too many meetings end without action steps. Even simple ones make all the difference. Then, hold your people accountable. Either review the action items in the next meeting, or set aside an appointment on your calendar to follow up. It’s remarkable how much attention people will give you if they know they have responsibility and you are following up.

Meetings. They can be highly productive or a time trap. It’s your job as a manager or leader to make them something people want to attend and something that moves the organization to quality decisions.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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