Most Meetings Suck: Want to Lead Meetings that Don’t?

by Mike O'Neill

There are good reasons why people HATE meetings.

Most are disorganized & boring.

Here are some tips for running a productive meeting that people might actually enjoy:

Share the Agenda in Advance. Make sure all needed information is provided beforehand. Conversations will be much richer if everyone comes to the meeting prepared.

Start & Finish on Time. Starting late can become habit forming. Ending late will provoke resentment.

Briefly Check In with Everyone. Invest the first 3-5 minutes on a personal & professional check-in. People typically need a few minutes to get extraneous thoughts off their minds and get on the same page.

Review the Agenda & Expectations. Review the agenda aloud and state a specific outcome for the meeting. If you can’t articulate a purpose for the meeting, don’t have it.

Encourage Participation. If you’re the boss or organizer, be careful that you don’t shut everyone else out by laying our your opinions first. The easiest way to get people to participate is to ask them open-ended questions.

Recap. As the meeting concludes, assign tasks & responsibilities. There should be no more that three (3) action items per meeting. Each must include a “Who” and a “When”. Before wrapping up, schedule your next meeting.

Have Fun. It’s OK. You can lead an effective meeting and have fun at the same time.

If you run meetings effectively, you won’t waste time. Most importantly, meetings are designed for people to engage with each other, not just exchange information.

When leaders know how to lead great meetings, there’s less time wasted and less frustration. We will have more energy to do the work that matters most.


The majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions. 

– Patrick Lencioni

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