August 3, 2015 Anil Saxena

Why Meetings Fail You

why meetings failAt a recent client project, we had a regular Tuesday status update meeting. It was the longest hour of the entire day. The reason: It is invariably turns into something out of twilight zone.

Most of the updates turned into monologues about either why something isn’t working or tangents on completely subjects that had nothing to do with the project.

Although meetings are really the only way to keep everyone on the same page and talking to each other they have to be time well spent.

To add insult to injury, most meetings are not just non-productive, but a downright waste of your employees time. – Craig Jarrow is the author of Time Management Ninja.

Amazingly, it is nothing earth shattering that makes meetings productive. There are two things that you can do as a leader to make sure the meetings are more productive.


“Having no agenda is the first sign your meeting will be a time-suck.” – Penelope Trunk

Make sure that there is an agenda and an expectation that everyone comes prepared. That means updates need to brought, presentations ready, etc. If you aren’t ready or prepped, you don’t get your turn. Outside of extenuating circumstances, there should be no exceptions to this regardless of level in organization.


The referee is at the heart of every football match, creating a fair and safe environment so that everyone can enjoy playing.

Second, make sure that every meeting has a facilitator (ref) that holds people accountable sticking to times and enables the conversation to flow. This person could be the meeting owner or a participant. Their primary role is to ensure that the agreed agenda is followed and when there are deviations (which there will be) they are agreed upon and understood by the people in the meeting.

Yes there are a thousand other little things you could and should do for a productive meeting. But these two tricks will go a long way.

What ideas do you use to make meetings great? Want more great ideas, let me know.

Picture thanks to


Cube 2.14 will increase your organizational effectiveness. We specialize in developing innovative, practical solutions to create productive workplaces that exceed goals.