3 Words that Make Meetings Great

Poorly run meetings offend the talent at the table.

Our hatred of meetings points to an issue leaders love to ignore.

You should be fired if you consistently waste people’s time and organizational resources.

If you enjoy meetings, you may be a deluded leader sitting at the head of the table.


Poorly run meetings offend the talent at the table.

Great meetings:

  1. Begin with chit chat before the meeting. Pre-meeting conversations set a tone for effective meetings.
  2. Strengthen connections.
  3. Provide safe environments to define challenges, explore unexpected solutions, and evaluate results.
  4. Achieve objectives that serve teams and organizations.
  5. Leverage the talent in the room.

The person at the head of the table is responsible for the quality of the meeting.

5 Things to stop doing in meetings:

  1. Complaining. Problem-solving isn’t complaining. The difference between complaining and leadership is solution-seeking.
  2. Interrupting. The person leading the meeting should interrupt interrupters.
  3. Blathering on and on.
  4. Chasing rabbits.
  5. Neglecting action items and accountability. Ask, “Who does what by when?”

3 words that make meetings great:

#1. Specific

When choosing between broad meeting agendas or specific, nearly 75% choose specific.*

Two or three action items is enough for most meetings.

#2. Shorter

We want meetings to end early because meetings suck. When choosing between shorter or smaller, 80% choose shorter meetings.*

Great meetings are as long as they need to be and no longer.

If your meetings run too long, make them a little shorter than they need to be. Talk expands to the amount of time allotted for it.

#3. Smaller

“Once you’ve got 7 people in a decision-making group, each additional member reduces decision effectiveness by 10%.” Decide & Deliver

Passive observers don’t belong at the table. Try the two pizza rule.

Tip: Delegate solution-finding to a small taskforce charged to return with recommendations.

What’s wrong with meetings?

What simple strategies might improve meetings?

*Leadership Freak surveys.