Making Meetings Matter!

Meetings can take up an inordinate amount of time in a lot of people’s working day. How you manage your meetings can make a huge difference to the productivity of your business.

Make meetings matter

When planning meetings how do you decide:

  • Who should attend?
  • When meetings should be scheduled?
  • Why they should happen?
  • What they should achieve?
  • How you measure the return on the investment of you and/or your colleague’s time spent attending meetings?

Scheduling meetings 

The scheduling of meetings is critical to the productivity of the workplace. Decisions and brainstorming meetings are best for morning time slots when participants are refreshed and more focused. Briefing and process meetings are best allocated to afternoon time slots when attendees may not be as alert.

Meeting goals and objectives

You need to ask yourself why you are having the meeting? Clearly defining your goals and objectives for holding a meeting is imperative. This ensures that you make the most of everyone’s time and resource and positions the business to get the best possible outcomes. Always ask yourself …is the meeting necessary?

Meeting attendees

The next question to ask yourself is who needs to attend the meeting?

So often meetings are attended by the masses and resource is wasted unnecessarily.

What is the purpose of the meeting?

Your answer will help determine the outcomes you want to achieve. The answer will also give you a clear indication of who should attend. Ask yourself if some attendees that may have attended before by default really need to attend some or all of the meetings that are planned. You may be able to communicate progress to them without them attending the meeting. This is an option if people are not critical to that part of the meeting process. This is helpful if you may need to include people in future meetings. You do not need to include everybody in every meeting. All stakeholders will them be kept up to speed.

Meeting agendas

Agendas are one of the most important components to achieving a successful meeting. An agenda will keep the meeting on track and allows you to allocate responsibility to each participant ensuring that you have no passengers.

It is very important that the meeting agenda is sent out well in advance to allow participants to prepare properly. A minute-taker is also crucial and a dedicated minute-taker who is succinct, yet thorough and captures the progress and outcomes of the meeting will keep the meeting in check. This will ensure that the minutes are not only read when distributed but are actioned accordingly.

Subsequent meetings should always revisit the prior minutes and agenda to create timelines. This will assist in identifying bottlenecks as well as accomplishments. These should be duly recognized in the meeting environment. This acts as a key performance indicator of your meeting’s efficiency and effectiveness and should be a vigilant and purposeful process.

Meeting actions and outcomes

Every participant of a meeting should have at least one action point when they walk out of a meeting. The ownership of an agenda item can be a very powerful tool to achieve a collaborative outcome when it is allocated as part of a meeting team goal.

For this to work you need to ensure that actions are addressed in a timely manner. This can be done by breaking down the goals into mini-goals that are reportable between meetings. Mini-goals can also be made reliant on the actions of other meeting attendees to encourage collaboration. This will allow the group to achieve the outcomes desired before the group meets again.

Reallocation of actions to other participants when tasks are not completed as required can be a strong deterrent for non-compliant participants. This can encourage them to be proactive to achieve outcomes in a timely manner. If they do not comply they will risk becoming a redundant team member.

Tolerance of disengagement or disinterest of meeting attendees will only delay and/or derail meeting agendas, actions and outcomes. This should  and never be encouraged or supported.

Meeting key performance indicators 

Key performance indicators can be measured in many different ways. They should change in accordance with the meeting objectives and desired outcomes. These key performance indicators may include time, cost, revenue, traffic, analysis, benchmarks or collaboration. Key performance indicators may also include two or more of these together or other benchmarks that are identified as relevant. These should be determined to be appropriate by the meeting organizer.

Meeting location

More than ever before location of a meeting is becoming irrelevant to the success of holding a successful meeting with the right participants. Virtual meetings are so well supported now that the only barriers relating to location is the timing of the meeting rather than the location. Organizers must ensure that time zones are considered carefully when planning meetings. This is to ensure all participants are not only able to attend, but are not impaired by the time of day or night that they will be required. This allows each attendee to be able to contribute proactively with other attendees.

An internal ‘Meeting SWOT Analysis’ is a good tool to implement that will help to determine the frequency and necessity of meetings. If a fraction of the time is taken to plan meetings that most businesses dedicate to actual meeting attendance businesses will achieve a significant improvement in productivity immediately.

The question about meetings you need to ask yourself as a business owner is….

Can my business afford not to?

Want to learn more about getting organised and planning?

Project Management: How to Run Team Meetings by Project Management Videos

Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation by Ian Brooks

A succinct, lively and robust introduction to the subject of OB that offers clear, focused coverage of the most important topics in an accessible way. Brooks et al aims to encourage critical examination of the theory of organisational behaviour whilst also enabling students to interpret and deal with real organisational problems.

10 Steps to Successful Strategic Planning by Susan Barksdale

Loaded with worksheets, exercises, tips, tools, checklists, and other easy-to-use and interactive learning aids, this book walks you through the process from beginning to end. Along the way, you will see how other organizations have planned their successes in many Case Study sidebars that enhance the easy-to-follow text.

Originally posted 2015-06-14 10:48:02.

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10+ Leadership Language Styles: What Are You Communicating As A Leader?

The leadership language styles you choose to adopt set the tone and expectation for your employees to follow.



How are you communicating and what impact is your leadership language style having on the employees you lead?

Where do you sit on the Leadership Performance Spectrum, and how can you improve the language you use as a leader to communicate?

10+ Leadership Language Styles to Explore


‘Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.’

Not always true…

As a leader, you are often judged by what you say and if your words are misunderstood or misinterpreted they may become ‘mud’ that inevitably has a way of sticking.

How you choose to articulate your leadership has the ability to define or destroy you as a leader.

Think before you speak, and speak only after careful deliberation, and with a full understanding of the meaning and impact of your words.


The visual language you communicate, as a leader, sets a precedent for not only what your employees believe now, but also what they will continue to expect from you as a leader.

What your employees see, establishes a strong association with what they believe.


The language you communicate virtually, through various channels, and on different platforms, tells the story of your leadership approach and gives insight into your emotional intelligence.

Your virtual footprint as a leader, gives you a voice to narrate and  accentuate how you want to be seen as a leader

How you choose to position yourself will leave an impression and will impact how you are perceived as a leader, whether that be real or imagined.


The way you craft your words can have different meanings for different employees.

Investing your time to understand how to harness the power of the written word as a leadership language tool can only enhance the power and potential of your leadership and its reach.

Recognizing and realizing what you write as a successful leadership language tool may create an opportunity to establish influence and authority, by demonstrating knowledge and experience.


The way you speak, your tone, words and the messages you are delivering, should be contextual with your goals, objectives, and actions.

The employees you lead and the market you operate in, will become confused and disillusioned if the way you behave and the actions you take do not align with what you say you are going to do.


Adopting collaboration as a native leadership language enables you, as a leader, to align yourself with others who have strengths that you do not possess.

This allows you to focus on what you do best.

Collaboration gives you an opportunity to showcase your strengths as a leader, rather than your weaknesses.


Your body talks louder than your subconscious self is aware. The story your body language tells others is often more revealing than any words you say.

Becoming aware of your body language as a leader is an important tool to present yourself as an open and transparent leader who listens, and encourages engagement and interaction.

Your body language can mean the difference between you, as a leader, being seen as approachable or unapproachable.


In today’s world, it may seem strange to suggest being tactile as a leadership language tool.  The interpretation of the term may appear to be politically incorrect, however, in the context of the task that the employee undertakes, rather than the employee themselves, being tactile takes on a completely different meaning and context.

A leader who engages in a task that an employee is expected to do demonstrates that he, or she, is prepared to be a hands-on, involved leader who wants to understand and relate to what they expect from their employee.


Consistency and calmness communicate strength and decisiveness as a leader.

Your behavioural leadership language style has the power to communicate in a way that is conducive to creating trust and sincerity.

This positions you, as a leader, to gain consensus to accelerate progress, momentum, and productivity.


Demonstrating that you, as a leader, have deep knowledge and what you are asking for, or expecting from your employees is understood, establishes a belief system in your employees.

As a leader, if you want your employees to follow you it helps the employee if they can see you understand, can influence, and have authority when you communicate.


Innovation and ideation can often be seen as interruption if your employees believe you do not have the experience to make things happen.

Experience echoes in your language and the way you choose to communicate can amplify this in what you communicate.

If that message fails to convince, confirm or convey your experience the consequences can negatively impact what you are trying to achieve.


Your leadership language style of choice can easily become your leadership DNA by default.

What is your leadership language style, what story are you telling, and is that a true reflection of you, as a leader?



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5 ways you ‘talk the talk’ that determines how you ‘walk the walk’

How we talk to ourselves and others defines who we are, how we are seen and what we will become.  When you think about it you are creating your own a self fulfilling prophecy.  What does yours look like? Ask yourself the following questions.

  • What are you projecting?
  • Who are you attracting?
  • How are you influencing?

talk the talk

5 ways that your talk could be limiting your success

 1. Authority

Authority, where we position conversations both with ourselves and others to set ourselves apart from being accountable, is an approach that we are all guilty of at times. This is where we make statements that exonerate us from responsibility and relinquish us from risk. We do this with an air of positive assertion and authority that suggests we have experience and knowledge as to why this would be a negative thing to do.  In reality we may be sidestepping something that we are not brave enough to try to overcome ourselves and would prefer others to make the mistakes for us.

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I will never do that because….
  • That is a stupid thing to do because…
  • If you do that you will regret it because…

2. Judging yourself and others

Passing judgement is intrinsic to the human condition and we, as humans, indulge in the pastime by engaging in gossip and taking the stance that we are offering advice. More often than not we are actually positioning ourselves to take the higher ground or make someone else the scapegoat to draw attention away from our own shortcomings.  We all know the old saying about throwing stones and glass houses.

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I would have done it that way because …
  • That is not the right choice because….
  • That was never going to work because…

3. Excuses

Excuses are the best aren’t they?  They allow us to not do what we might find to be uncomfortable or not want to do. We may also make excuses to cover our tracks or where we might be shown up to not being as good at something we have been telling everyone we were an expert in.  The question is when not will you get found out but when will you get found out?

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I can’t possibly do that because…
  • I am too busy to do that because…
  • I think it would be good for you to do it because…

4. Playing it safe

Sometimes we set the bar at a height that is very achievable for a reason.  If we reach that mark we have achieved and we can pat ourselves on the back and feel good about what we have done.  There is nothing wrong with that is there?  What if you are setting the bar at a level that is never going to push you out of your comfort zone and you are telling yourself that it is better to work in the safe zone?  Are you self-limiting what is possible?

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I can’t do any more because…
  • I do a great job. No-one can ever say I don’t because…
  • I can only achieve this outcome because…

5. Pretending

When we are not happy with ourselves it is not unusual to create a way of thinking and talking to ourselves and others to paint a picture that makes us sound a lot better than where we are now and draws a picture that is misleading. This creates limitations because from the inside you believe that if everybody else thinks you have made it you don’t have to do much except keep up the pretense.   Fake it till you make it. Sound familiar?

Have you heard yourself say things like…

  • I only achieved what I did because….
  • I am the best at what I do because….
  • I don’t need any help doing that because…

Of course sometimes the 5 ways you talk to yourself and others listed above are appropriate in some circumstances. The real question you have to ask  yourself is that if you are honest with yourself  how often do you default to talking to yourself and others with a because that puts limitations on what is possible.

What is your because?

Originally posted 2016-12-12 13:14:51.

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