How to run effective meetings to achieve greater results

Questions to ask yourself before you plan and attend your next meeting

Is it time to get back to the drawing board for the culture of meetings in the UK? With Britain’s meeting epidemic hitting the headlines we share ways you can save time and money by managing your meetings more effectively.


Research released this week revealed that the average worker is now spending 213 hours a year, or 26 workings days, trapped in meetings. However, meetings are a crucial building block to any organisation, a fundamental part of culture and if used effectively can provide an excellent platform for decision making, creativity and workforce engagement.

The survey of more than 1,000 workers suggests that more than 20 million people attend at least one meeting a day with the average amount of time spent in meetings being 4.1 hours a week. Equally worrying is that an average of 20 minutes of every 60-minute meeting is wasted, often before the discussions have even started.

This is potentially a huge cost to your organisation; just take a moment to calculate the average hourly rate of a person in your meeting, by the number of people attending, by the length of the meeting, the frequency it takes place per year and any associated fixed costs.



Now consider, how much value for money are you getting from your meetings?

So, ask yourself several questions before you send that next meeting invite:

  • Why do I want this meeting?
  • Do I really believe that I can achieve the result I want from this meeting?
  • What could make this meeting memorable, enjoyable or even fantastic?

With research suggesting that the number of meetings a year is increasing due to factors such as Brexit now is the time to make them more effective.

Tips for effective meetings

  1. Preparation is key

Pre-meeting planning can make or break a successful and effective meeting so think about the logistics of the meeting itself, secure the buy-in of attendees before the meeting and communicate the ‘reason why’ for the meeting with an outline agenda.

  1. It’s show time!

When it comes to the meeting itself, use your agenda as a map for the meeting but prepare to be flexible if needed. Plan in time to celebrate successes, encourage people to participate, and use positive language such as ‘I can’, ‘great’, ‘brilliant’ or ‘excellent’.

  1. Leave with clarity and focus

Finally, when it comes to allocating action points at the end of the meeting use the Go MAD Results Framework and ask yourself questions such as:


  • What are your reasons for doing this and specifically, what do you want to achieve?
  • What are some of the possible things you could do to help you achieve this goal?
  • What will you do and by when?
  • Who could you possibly involve with your actions?

Meetings have the power to change culture

We work with a number of organisations to improve the effectiveness of their meetings and therefore the productivity of their organisations.

One such example is our ThinkOn partnership with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust which has organically created culture change by asking high quality questions in meetings and conversations. Meetings at all levels are taking less time, are more focused and now involve increased thinking and idea generation. For example, a 3-day meeting with 12 participants was cut to 2 days through the use of solution focused thinking tools.

Colin Martin, Chief Executive of the trust says of the impact of the licenced Master Coaches in spreading and embedding the shared language and practical tools has achieved:

"a 30% reduction of time spent in meetings as well as improving the clarity, creative thinking and productive outputs from meetings at all levels. All of which has enabled us to provide even greater patient care”


Are you ready to make a difference?

Do you want your meeting attendees to feel focused, valued and inspired? If so, you are ready to make a difference.

Our ‘How to save time and money by managing meetings effectively’ booklet gives you 101 ways to make a difference with your meetings. You will discover 10 tips about involving others before a meeting, 9 techniques to get the most from a meeting and 17 tips about facilitating group dynamics, and more.

Our Podcast series also includes a number of episodes about meetings which can be downloaded here.

If you want to know more about how we could work with your organisation to improve your productivity, please get in touch with one of the team.