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Al Smith

I completely agree with #2. I am a sales/leadership trainer and long lectures violate many adult learning principles. At the end of the day, a real meeting has a strategic goal and adults want to be an active participant in reaching that goal. Planning activities or giving attendees an opportunity to offer ideas and insight will prevent the dreaded lecture and ensuing boredom.

Great post!!

Scott Verrette

I agree with all of the good points made above and would add a couple more of my own based upon my past experience:

- Don't be a slave to meeting length. If you can finish a meeting originally planned for 1 hour in 25 minutes then by all means end it early. It's a waste of time and demotivating to force people to sit in a meeting that has outlived its usefulness.

- Assign action items at each meeting (who commits to do what and by when) and do so in writing. Then follow up on those action items and subsequent meetings to ensure progress is being made on key issues.

- Involve everyone in the room in brainstorming potential solutions to vexing problems. Sometimes the best, most obvious and most elegantly simply solutions come from those who have little direct involvement in the situation and therefore have a fresh perspective.

- As the meeting leader don't give undue attention to people in the room who are disruptive or who are dominating the conversation since that only serves to reinforce undesired behavior as a means of gaining visibility for those who like to be in the limelight. Become adept at quickly shifting the focus of a conversation to a different person or to a different topic when necessary.

The skills required for leading an effective meeting are both an art and a science.

Denise Green

Love this. And I took the extra breath with you with number 2. I saw an article that you've probably also seen, that showed that meetings where people stood the entire time were more efficient. And I like messing with people and inviting people to meetings that are 37 minutes (or some weird number) long (I also like to give 7 minute breaks). Also, I think it's good practice to start meetings at 5 minutes (or more) past the hour. One of my favorite things about being self-employed is that I no longer have to attend habit meetings like weekly staff meetings or project planning meetings that have 3 times as many people as we need. Wasting people's time is such a morale killer. I love Amabile's research in the book The Progress Principle. Meetings, unless they help people move forward on a good piece of work, can be terrible energy drainers. My business partner Heather has a three minute video up on our facebook Welcome page with practical ideas she's used to help her global clients make meetings more effective. http://www.facebook.com/EvokeBrilliance

Supervisor training

I could not agree more! If only everyone was aware of it it would save so much time and we could be so much more productive! I have bookmarked your post and will send it to my colleagues.


Make sure that two sides are considered and make sure you can iron out a way forwards in the concluding timings of the meeting!


Great tips, thanks for sharing. I can add that the debriefing in a meeting is often forgotten. We tend to rush the end due to a lack of time, but this is an important aspect.

Ashlee Chu

I most certainly agree with 2 & 3. Those two seem to be the most overseen "small" issues that can derail a meeting's purpose altogether.

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