Making Meetings Meaningful

Meetings get a bad rap.

There’s typically plenty of meetings held in most businesses and it’s easy to feel like they block our ability to get the real work done.

But I’m a big fan of meetings when they are done properly.

Meetings are the lubricant that get things done.

In this blog, I outline how to make meetings meaningful by creating a meeting regime that works for you.

These techniques are simple, proven and can be implemented immediately.

The 3 P’s to Meaningful Meetings

1.     Prep

2.     Participation

3.     Post


Prep is attendees preparing for the meeting. It is reviewing prior minutes, preparing your presentation and noting issues or questions for discussion.

Prep is ensuring you have followed up on any action items noted under your accountability.

The meeting starts before the meeting.

Do the Prep.


Participation is how you act and contribute within the meeting.

You don’t attend a meeting, you participate in a meeting.

Too many people fail to do the Prep and just attend meetings and then wonder why meetings have poor outcomes.

If you do the Prep, participation is easy and guarantee the meeting’s success.


Post is what you do after the meeting.

If action items aren’t captured and allocated within the meeting, including a person responsible and a deadline, what is the point of holding the meeting?

Post involves each action item noted being followed up by the individuals accountable.

The wicket keeper to ensure that Post occurs is reviewing action item status at the commencement of the next meeting.

Post is the gold that comes out a meeting.

8 Hacks for more meaningful meetings

1.     Always have an agenda, a start time and a finish time.

2.     Start and finish on time regardless of latecomers or ongoing discussion.

3.     Ask the question ‘Who’s in the room?’ to assess choice of attendees.

4.     Appoint a Chair to facilitate the meeting. A rotating Chair helps to keep people focused and supports professional development.

5.     Appoint a Scribe to take notes and distribute follow-up action items on email by close of business same day following meeting. Action items should be ideally a page and no more than two pages. A rotating Scribe helps to keep people focused and supports professional development.

6.     Agree at the start of the meeting what the meeting intends to achieve.

7.     Have a timeout rule where if people move off on tangents you can call timeout (by using a timeout hand signal) and ask the parties to take the issue offline for discussion after the meeting.

8.     Document a Meeting Regime that lists all meetings, times, dates and attendees. Circulate this in hard copy and by email calendar invites.

If you create a culture that runs by these guidelines within a meeting regime, you will get more stuff done in less time.

I encourage you to revisit your meeting regime and make your meetings meaningful.


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