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Productive Meetings

‘Just Say No to’ . . . Unproductive Meetings

How often has this happened to you? You attend a meeting and come away feeling nothing was accomplished and that you have just wasted time that could have been used more productively.

Why is this so often the case?

There are six reasons that meetings fail, all of which could be easily corrected:

  • No Purpose – There is always a meeting Tuesday afternoon. It is tradition. No one ever asks, “Is this meeting necessary?”

  • No Agenda – When participants arrive they are asked what they want to discuss. If there is an agenda, it isn’t distributed before the meeting begins… and “additional items” are always welcome! It is better to invite input to the agenda beforehand and then distribute it a few days prior to the meeting to allow time for participants to prepare. Accept additions only when they are truly emergent.

  • No List of Attendees – Everyone attends. No one wants to be left out. Whether they have anything to contribute or not, people are there. As the agenda is prepared, the meeting leader should decide whom to invite. When they receive the agenda, possible attendees should be able to decide whether their presence is really required.

  • No Time Limit – Meetings don’t start on time and have no planned end time. Discussions can go on forever. Where they do exist, start times and time limits are ignored.

  • No Decisions – Participants leave meetings having decided nothing. There was lots of discussion, but no conclusions. Items are tabled until a future meeting where the same points will be discussed and still no decisions will be taken.

  • No Follow Up – Sometimes decisions are made, but there is no plan for action. No timelines are established. No one reminds those responsible to implement the decisions or checks to ensure follow through on commitments.

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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