Perfect Meetings

Like you, no doubt, I have attended an incredible number of meetings since I started my career in 1984.

Team meetings, project meetings, 121s, appraisal reviews, annual conferences, networking events……… meetings come in many forms!

But does the picture below sound like a familiar scenario to you?

You have no minutes or notes before a meeting. There is no clear agenda. There is no clear purpose. Far too many people are invited to the meeting. People turn up late. It goes off at tangents. Certain people dominate the meeting. Some people leave early. It runs late. There are no action minutes forthcoming soon after the meeting.

I could go on, but you get the painful picture and have no doubt experienced this in many ways.

If you hold meetings, you definitely have a responsibility to make meetings as productive and effective as possible. If you attend them, you can work to influence change.

Time is so valuable, and meetings can be the biggest time culprits at work. But is there such things as perfect meetings?

Positive things you can do

Here are some important ideas to change the shape of your meetings:

  • Allocate specific time for your meetings (10 minutes, 25 minutes) and don’t go for the normal 30/60/2 hour/half day approach
  • Send an agenda out before with purpose, agenda items and intended outcomes
  • You could also use questions as agenda items such as “How do we…?”
  • Allocate time for each agenda item
  • Be ruthless with attendees that need to attend. If you are an attendee, be ruthless in accepting invitations
  • Confirm the preparation needed for everyone, and prepare yourself
  • Send out previous actions or any items needed for preparation. Make it easy for people to prepare!
  • Hold the meeting in the best environment, possibly away from the normal offices
  • No devices allowed, or have rules on their use
  • Stand up for short meetings
  • Agree the format of the meeting. Are people invited to ask questions at any point, or at set points?
  • Use practical tools and exercises to liven the meeting up and engage everyone
  • During the meeting, you could use the question – “If customer X were here, what would they say…”
  • Summarise and recap for clarity throughout. What are the key issues, ideas and actions?
  • Have a break for longer meetings
  • Keep a close eye on time and keep the meeting on track
  • Work to involve everyone
  • Try to focus on one thing at a time when discussing problems or issues. All ideas first, then risks next, positives, emotional viewpoints, timeframes etc. Meetings can become polarised, so it is good to have everyone approaching things in the same direction
  • Keep language professional and don’t offend anyone
  • Have a positive round up at the end of the meeting and agree next steps
  • Capture minutes there and then, and send out immediately or very soon after
  • Ensure the minutes are succinct and based around actions, priorities, responsibilities and timeframes
  • Arrange follow up meeting(s)
  • Follow up on actions

If just a few of these make a difference to the way you hold meetings, it will have been worthwhile!

If you feel I can help in any way, get in touch.

Elevating Leadership and Organisational Culture

Holding positive meetings is just one component of a high-performance organisational culture. If you would like support on your leadership journey or with your team behaviours, then you can take the next step by obtaining a copy of my book (PI Leadership) and receive a FREE ticket to our PI Leadership Discovery workshop on January 22nd.

Or you can contact me directly for a chat on 07912 143040 or email me at