People spend a lot of time in meetings these days!  Making meeting time productive should therefore be a priority. Actions that make meetings successful require management before, during, and after the meeting.

The corporate psyche just accepts that meetings are painful. Yet meetings are what executives and managers do, and the fault for bad ones is essentially their own.

Meetings are one of the few times where people operate in an open setting. How they’re facilitated reflects how leaders are perceived. Mediocre meetings tend to create mediocre decisions and a mediocre organization. This is why facilitation skills are considered a key leadership competency.

3-Plus-3 Best Practices

Here are three things (there are undoubtedly more) to do before and during meetings to take them to the next level:


  1. Know your outcome. Is it to brainstorm, debate, make a decision or is it just informational? Visualize the outcome and create an agenda that stipulates the objective for each agenda item.
  2. Allow enough time. Contrary to popular wisdom, the mark of a great meeting is not how short it is, or whether it ends on time. The key is whether it ends with clarity and commitment from participants.
  3. Invite the right participants. Too many participants can bog meetings down. Too few can result in agenda items remaining unresolved, or decisions made without buy-in.


  1. State the objective and connect the dots. Provide context and clarify the objective – people need to know what the meeting is about and the outcome you seek.
  2. Maintain focus. Keep the meeting focused on the issue at hand. Don’t allow digressions. Instead, place them in a parking lot for later.
  3. Encourage conflict. Seek out opposing views and ensure that they are completely aired. This helps ensure you get to the bottom of issues and deal with any stumbling blocks.

Kwela has a popular skills workshop on this topic, for more information see here

Nic Tsangarakis