How many meetings do you have in a day, week, month?  Whilst some meetings will be meaningful: that is they achieve outcomes and are positive, chances are there are some meetings that you find disengaging, boring, or a complete waste of time.

Why are so many meetings that we attend, so bad?


Whilst we may feel that the meeting has merit and a good intention, the impact is often not considered.  Meaningful meetings have positive impact.

How can we improve the impact of a meeting and make it a meaningful meeting?

Here are some useful tips.

Engaging Environment

Call out those who judge, criticise or make condescending comments toward other’s ideas and contributions.  Judging shuts others down causing them to disengage and stop contributing.  Keep a positive environment so that everyone feels they can participate.

Forward to the Future

Unless the discussion on a past event is to learn from it, there is no point it being raised.  All too often meetings are taken up with talk of what happened last week.  Meaningful meetings are about what we are working on this week/month, what support we need, what barriers / challenges we are facing.  By all means celebrate/recognise achievements, just not the details.

Unbogging the discussion

All too often we go into meetings only to find most of the actions set last meeting haven’t been completed.  Either the list of actions grows longer or the meeting just gets bogged down.  Ensure everyone is committed and accountable from the start.  Discuss actions to ensure shared meaning and understanding.  Discussion problems to co-create solutions so that progress can be made.  Meaningful meetings are about moving things forward.

Why are we here?

Some meetings such as department meetings, management meetings, senior leader meetings happen week on week, year on year.  Ensure there is a purpose to the meetings that is co-created, appears on the agenda and minutes and is reviewed to ensure relevance.  Just because there is a leadership team doesn’t mean they have to meet.  Meaningful meetings always have a purpose, it needs to be front of mind and can be called upon when the discussions go off course.

We are all busy and wasting time in meetings is one of the biggest frustrations employees and leaders have.  Let’s help them manage their time better.  Embedding one of more of these tips into your next meeting will result in a change in the levels of engagement from the participants.