RSC Level 2 Module 4: Leading Effective Meetings
Step 1) Overview: In North America 37% of employee time is spent in meetings, 47% employees consider ‘too many meetings’ to be the biggest waste of time in the workplace and 70% admit that they brought other work to meetings. In the face of these stark statistics we may not be able to do away with meetings completely, but we can certainly work at becoming more effective at leading, planning and managing meetings. This module introduces you to the components of an effective meeting, shows you how a well-planned agenda can significantly improve the productivity of a meeting and coaches you on chairing an effective meeting. The lessons from this module are simple, and some would say they are self-evident. Yet the preponderance of negative statistics about meetings suggest that the real challenge for leaders is the discipline that goes into planning an effective meeting and the fact that the leader often goes through a number of meetings in quick succession and needs to switch attitude, tone and focus very rapidly in order to be equally effective in successive meetings with diverse objectives.
Step 2) Action Learning: Please watch Video A and Video B below.
Video A is a 12-minute segment from Harvard Business School’s Bob Pozen, the author of ‘Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours’. Bob shares practical tips on when to call a meeting, how to prepare for a meeting, and shows us some characteristics of a bad meeting. In a nutshell there are four legitimate reasons for calling a meeting: to discuss or debate an important issue, to brainstorm or generate new ideas, to engage in complex negotiation and to build camaraderie. If your meeting does not qualify under any of these four categories you should replace it with an email message, a memo or some other means of communication.
Video B is an 8-minute segment from Rod Eichhorn, CEO and founder of Sellonomics that focuses your attention on the most powerful driver of meeting productivity – the agenda. He shows you the components of well-planned agenda, he gives you some tips to build one and finally, most importantly, he suggests that an active review of the agenda with each participant before the meeting may actually be an essential ingredient of an effective meeting.
Step 3) Points to Ponder:
1) Approximately how much (%) of your work week is spent in meetings? In your opinion are these meetings “mostly productive, a good use of time”, “sometimes productive and good use of time” or “mostly unproductive, waste of time”?
2) If you evaluate the meetings in your company with respect to the key features of a good meeting (listed here) which features are most frequently weak or missing in your company?
Key features of a good meeting: -
-Leader T’s up topics and manages time
-Well-planned agenda circulated in advance
-Most of the meeting time spent in discussion
-Meeting has closure and next steps
--Meeting is no more than 90 minutes
3) Comment on Rod Eichhorn’s suggestion, “You should circulate the agenda a week in advance and review it with each participant individually: this touch point gives you important insight into each participant’s point of view ahead of the meeting.” Discuss the usefulness (or lack thereof) of this approach. Any lessons learned?
4) Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as the Chair of a meeting. How can you improve your performance in this role? Any lessons learned?
Step 4) Interactive Discussion:
After viewing Videos A & B and exploring the Points to Ponder check your calendar for the Interactive Discussion scheduled for this Module. Go to the session prepared to discuss the lessons learned with others in your Rising Star cohort. If you have any questions or need more information please send a message to
Step 5) Next Level: (Optional): Read the reference “The Manager’s Guide to Effective Meetings” by B.J. Streibel, published by McGraw-Hill Education (2002) ISBN-13: 978-0071391344
“Running Virtual Meetings” by Harvard Business Review, part of HBR 20-Minute Manager Series published by Harvard Business Review Press (2016) available on 2 August 2016.