We have experienced decades of dissatisfaction voiced by managers and non-managers alike about participating in nonproductive, lengthy meetings.

The keys to successful meeting management are twofold. First there must be an established and supported process or structure by which all meetings are conducted. This “recipe” for conducting meetings eventually becomes part of the management culture of the organization and is an important element of integrating new people into the culture.

The second, and equally important element is the behavior of the meeting participants. Certain “norms” of behaviors must be established and adhered to. A culture of trust must be established where people can both offer and receive “course corrections” in meetings when they either observe the meeting getting off track or when they stray from established norms themselves.

Making Meetings Work takes the well known fundamentals of meeting management and casts them in an entirely new light — how people “show-up” for meetings largely determines the effectiveness of them. Whether face to face, video-conference or teleconference, the rules remain the same.

When looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your meetings, consider the following:

  • Existing Realities – Determine the current “norms” and practices of your existing meetings. Compare current practices  to industry “best practices” and perform a gap analysis. Formulate action plans to improve practices.
  • Meeting Structure and Operating Guidelines – Follow the meeting guidelines shown below.
  • Roles and Responsibilities – Establish various roles and responsibilities. Facilitator, Team Leader, Participant.
  • Meeting Management – Follow processes for decision making, accountability, and crowd control to stay on track.
  • Positive Confrontation – Develop techniques for surfacing issues using “Appreciative Inquiry” as a foundation.
  • Follow-up – Critique your meetings and  determine how to ensure crisp execution of business decisions without being confrontational?


  •  Start on time
  • Select or acknowledge the chairperson
  • Select a time keeper
  • Ensure all participants have their calendarsBegin with and stick to the agenda (Allocate specific amounts of time to each agenda item)
  • Achieve balanced participation (Dont let some members dominate while others dont participate fully)
  • Avoid going off on tangents (Use action minutes to schedule and track other meetings with the team or various members of the team)
  • Use the action minutes to record and track specific action steps that are important to the team
  • End on time

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