Do More with Less: How to Lead a Productive Meeting

Apr 28, 2010
3 Min Read

Your high performers dislike meetings -- especially if they run long. They see meetings as a wasteful interruption to their structured work day. The more meetings they have, the less satisfied they feel with their job.

Others enjoy meetings, though. Specifically, people working in teams require collaboration in order to get their job done, so they look forward to them. But no matter what, everyone appreciates it when they are well run and organized. Here are some tips on how to do that.


  • Write up a bulleted agenda – email it out a few days before the meeting (along with any other pertinent info) so attendees can prepare.
  • Set an objective for the meeting – make sure it is accomplished before the time is up.
  • Only invite those who are needed – explain in their invite why their input is important.
  • Break the meeting up into time blocks – and stick to your schedule.


  • Cut people off if they are straying from the topic – but make sure the issue they raised gets addressed later.
  • Take notes – write it down even if it seems unimportant now or you think you’ll remember later.
  • Dual purpose the meeting by adding fun; you can get stuff done while bonding with each other too.

It is 2010

  • Consider whether an IM/chat session, a few emails, a dedicated discussion thread, or a conference call might be more efficient instead.
  • Get unified focus – ban cell phones and laptops unless you are holding a brainstorming session.
  • Conference in coworkers who are working from home or traveling. Take a video and send it to those who couldn’t make it.
  • Don’t hog the spotlight – cycle meeting leaders to provide on-the-job developmental opportunities for your team.


  • Follow-up on action items and review the items discussed via email after your session.
  • Get anonymous feedback on the meeting. Ask questions like “was this meeting helpful/necessary?” or “could we have achieved the outcomes in a better/different way?” Then read it and consider the suggestions.

What are your tips for leading meetings? How do you add fun?

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