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Productive Meetings

Four Questions for Better Meetings

When someone proposes an item for a meeting, ask them these four questions. The proposer may discover the item does not have to be on the agenda.

  1. What action will be taken during the meeting? Use action verbs such as decide, identify or assign. Avoid verbs such as discuss, review or talk about.

  2. Why should this item be dealt with now?
    Is this the appropriate time to take action related to this topic? Do you have all the information necessary to take action? What are the consequences of not dealing with this topic now? Would it be better placed on a future agenda?

  3. What are the benefits of placing this item on this agenda? List the reasons for placing this item on the agenda. Will a better decision result from having involvement of all participants? Or do only a one or two need to be involved? Is there an alternative to dealing with this during a meeting?

  4. How much meeting time will this item take? Estimate the time required and stick to that schedule during the meeting.
    Source: Nelson Scott’s More Productive Meetings in Less Time seminar.

Source: Nelson Scott’s More Productive Meetings in Less Time seminar.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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