Meetings: They Don’t Have to be a Time Suck

intentional practices Aug 07, 2023
Meetings: They Don’t Have to be a Time Suck


Have you ever been part of a meeting where you walked away feeling like nothing happened? Or worse, where nothing got done? It's more common than you might think. According to research, the average meeting Iasts less than an hour—and only 10% of that time is used for productive discussion.


You're probably nodding your head right now (or at least thinking about it!) because a poorly planned meeting can be an absolute time suck. But there are strategies to make meetings more productive.


Define Meeting Goals and Objectives

You need to be able to know what you're aiming for from the get-go and communicate that to all attendees.

Defining meeting goals and objectives helps you determine the type of meeting you need, such as whether a brainstorming or decision-making session is necessary. It also allows you to set an agenda, time limits for each task, and the expected outcomes after the meeting.


Establish Ground Rules for Meetings

You can set ground rules to ensure that everyone has a chance to contribute and stay on track. Here are some examples:

  • Have an agenda ready ahead of time and stick to it.
  • Make sure everyone is prepared to participate by the start of the meeting.
  • Limit conversations to one topic at a time.
  • Let people finish speaking before anyone else begins speaking.
  • Keep discussions focused and take notes for later review.
  • End each meeting with action items and a plan for follow-up discussion or work.
  • Give everyone equal respect and ensure that no one is unnecessarily dominating the conversation or monopolizing people’s time.


Create an Agenda for Meetings

Here are some tips for creating your agenda:

  1. Start with a clear goal. This will help you determine which topics must be discussed and in what order.
  2. Ensure the agenda is distributed beforehand.
  3. Involve the attendees in creating the agenda.
  4. Keep it concise but relevant – your agenda should accurately reflect what will be discussed at the meeting.
  5. Prioritize items with time frames – this ensures that each topic has enough time allotted for discussion but also keeps meetings moving along at a steady pace without going over schedule.

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Assign Roles and Responsibilities to Participants

To assign roles and responsibilities, you should determine:

  • Who is going to lead the meeting?
  • What will each participant be responsible for?
  • Who will keep track of progress?
  • Who will record the minutes and key takeaways?



To be productive, you need an environment that encourages people to be engaged. It's about understanding the speaker and paying close attention to their verbal and non-verbal cues.

To facilitate active listening:

  1. Make eye contact with the speaker;
  2. Show interest in what's being said with body language;
  3. Ask questions for clarification;
  4. Try to summarize what’s been said in your own words;
  5. Don’t rush to give your opinion; make sure everyone has had a chance first.


Plan a Follow-Up and Review Process

You don’t want to just have a meeting and call it a day; you also want to review what happened at the meeting and plan for any follow-up.

Make sure everyone has a clear understanding of who is responsible for each action item.

When the meeting is done, take the time to review what was discussed, assign any necessary tasks, and plan for follow-up as needed.

Simple but important approached to meeting matters.


What are your main “pain points” dealing with meetings?

What advice would be most helpful to you?
And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!

Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.




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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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