How to Design and Run Meetings That Don’t Waste Everybody’s Time

People spend a lot of time at work in meetings. And according to surveys, 70% of employees feel that the meetings they attend aren’t productive—in short a waste of time.

If you’re one of the majority that feels this way, this comes as no surprise. You know the feelings of frustration all too well. As well as the financial cost. If 4 people each earning $40,000 a year attend a 2 hour meeting that goes nowhere, that’s a cost of $152 of wasted time just for that meeting. Not to mention the incidental costs such as travel. Take those costs and multiply by the number of meetings you feel are a waste of time over a year and you are getting some real money. In this day and age when organizations are facing enormous budget constraints, and are looking hard at all their cost elements, improving meeting quality jumps out as a “no brainer”.

Yet there is often little analysis of why meetings fail, or what needs to happen so they succeed.

Why Meetings Fail

Here are some of the common reasons things go wrong that you can measure against your own experience.

  • Meeting leader is unprepared and tries to “wing it”
  • There’s no formal agenda
  • Everyone disagrees on the meeting’s subject
  • The expected desired results are not defined
  • People critical to meeting’s success:
    • Don’t Show Up
    • Weren’t Invited
    • Come late or leave early
  • Participants don’t understand their roles
  • Unfocussed discussion
  • Results are not accurately recorded.
  • Other reasons that you’ve experienced


The 7 Key Ingredients that Make Meetings Work

On the other hand, meetings that work usually contain the following elements.

  • Meeting is well designed:
    • Has a purpose statement with agreed upon meeting subject and desired results
    • Has an agenda that clearly specifies topics for discussion, timing, participant expectations, etc.
    • Provides participants with needed background information.
    • Determines needed pre-work by participants.
    • Uses effective group discussion processes such as brainstorming, problem solving, decision making, etc
    • Determines needed meeting logistics
  • Meeting starts and ends on time
  •  Meeting Leader is prepared
  • The critical people are in attendance
  • Participants understand their roles and participate appropriately
  • The meeting’s discussion focuses on the topics at hand
  • Pertinent discussion and results are captured and used going forward as needed.

Where to Go From Here

 Because holding better meetings is so important, KAW Consulting developed “Meetings That Work”, an electronic handbook that shows you step by step how to design and run effective meetings. Written in a clear, easy to use format you’ll learn:
  • What makes meetings succeed, and why many fail
  • The crucial roles that need to be filled in each meeting
  • The 8 Steps for designing Effective Meetings
  • Tips for Running an Effective Meeting
  • How to deal with potential problems you may encounter such as:
    • Stares and Silence
    • Negative Remarks
    • Separate Agendas
    • One person trying to dominate the discussion
  • How to use effective group discussion processes to:
    • Generate Ideas by Brainstorming
    • Solve Problems
    • Make Better Decisions
    • Plan Tasks
    • Set Goals

Available in both Kindle and PDF

To meet the demands of our global users, “Meetings That Work is now available in both Kindle and PDF versions.  U.S. purchasers can purchase both.  International users eligible to purchase from Amazon can purchase the Kindle Version.  Both versions allow you to have it accessible each time you need to design a meeting.

For information on the Kindle version either click the applicable link below, or visit your applicable Amazon website and input “Meetings That Work” in the search criteria.

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PDF Version

For U.S. users, the PDF version allows you to store “Meetings That Work” on your computer.  It includes hyperlinks so you can jump right to the page or section you need without having to spend time scrolling through unneeded pages.  You can purchase single copies or share with additional users by purchasing additional licenses.  This makes it easy for organizations to increase the productivity of their staffs.

You can buy single copies for the low price of $21.95.  Sharing with additional users is also easy–just purchase additional licenses at $19.95 per user.

To view a sample and instructions on how to purchase online click here.


Author: KAW Consulting

KAW Consulting provides Training and Development, Organizational Development, Teambuilding, Strategic Planning and Human Resource Consulting. Since 1994, our Core Competence has been helping organizations meet their business and strategic goals by identifying and developing the needed human resource capability to achieve these goals. KAW also provides the Manager's Toolkit, a series of Team and Personal productivity tools aimed at helping Managers, Supervisors and Team Members succeed in some of their most challenging tasks such as: Designing and Running Better Meetings, Holding effective Team Discussions, Delegating Work Successfully, Managing Projects, Time Management, Coaching Employees, and Leading Effectively.