Time is money

5 steps to help you rock any meeting.

May 2, 2016   Karin Lindner

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
General George S. Patton, US Army

We don’t do a great job of engaging people in creative conversations at work. Too many people put their brain on autopilot when they run to a meeting. They’re busy, stressed and likely thinking about something else.

I have participated in meetings in which team members were tuned out, low-key, checking their e-mails and worst case – have dozed off.

You can rock any meeting in the shortest possible time if you just keep a few things in mind.

Purpose and structure

Why are you having the meeting and who is in charge of the agenda? Who needs to be there to make the meeting successful? What is the expected outcome? Avoid wasting time: keep the meeting focused. Build structure into the meeting so people understand the context. Ensure participants are engaged.


Energy is important. You won’t get positive results from negative thinking. Positivity is about seeing the opportunity in problems. Start your meeting on a positive note. You could ask, “What went well yesterday?” and go around the room quickly, asking everyone to share a success.

Encourage creative conflict

Conflict is considered to be a negative but it can be a creative positive as long as everyone is respectful of one another. It’s necessary to air and discuss different opinions. Everyone looks at challenges differently. We should be eager to listen and learn. What’s going well? Where are we stuck? How can we get better?


Have a meeting while walking outside and getting some fresh air. Or create a colourful room that encourages creativity.

KIS=S (Keeping is Short = Sexy)

Stay on topic and keep to the allotted time. When a meeting lacks structure, it can get out of hand. Consider standing through a meeting, or putting treadmills in the room. Meetings would be shorter, more productive, more energetic and deliver better results.

Make it engaging

There is nothing worse than a boring meeting. It’s a bad sign when people don’t say anything. They’re either intimidated or disengaged. Have the courage to “see” what’s going on. Check body language? Are people tuned out or tuned in? Are some people dominating the conversation? If so, make it a point to ask the quieter ones for their input and ideas. At the end of the meeting, ask for feedback. What could be done differently? What can be improved? Asking open-ended questions is a wonderful way to get everyone involved, and reflection is always an important part of improvement.

People should look forward to being an active participant in a meeting (instead of merely attending one) because they know their voice will be heard. A successful meeting has to deliver results, otherwise it’s a waste of time and the company’s money.

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