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Simple Steps to Make-Over Your Meetings

boring-meetingMost people with whom I talk spend far too much time in unproductive, unsatisfying meetings. Here’s the thing, awesome meetings aren’t going to happen organically, not over time, at least. Sure, you may have a couple of lively conversations at the beginning of a group’s time together, or around a topic that is of particular interest. But the general rule is this: groups work better with structure. And structure, my frustrated chairs and conveners, requires planning.

Take a look at the attached is a meeting planning worksheet (DJA_Set Your Meeting Up for Success_Planning Worksheet) that I share with clients, and that my consulting team and I use in our own work. Use it for meetings, workshops or focus groups, and with new or established teams.

One of the areas for consideration on the planning worksheet is Meeting Procedures. I invite you to think creatively about this, and employ a simple and effective design principle that I like to call “layering”. Layering works like this: consider the total amount of time you have with the group. Then, plan the agenda to allow time for 1) presentation of an idea/topic, 2) individual reflection, 3) small group discussion, 4) large group discussion/call to action. 

Sample Agenda


This simple formula ensures that you “design” the meeting to share information and elicit involvement. Involvement is key to increasing: the likelihood that creative ideas will be shared and heard, individual and group accountability, your ability to come to action/decision that everyone is clear about, and satisfaction. (I’m a bit proponent of finding ways to increase satisfaction at work).

Now, and in the spirit of sharing, we would love to hear some of the techniques you use to ensure your meetings are having impact. Please send your ideas and let us know what works best for you.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you!


DeEtta Jones

DeEtta Jones is an invited speaker, equity, diversity and inclusion strategy consultant and author with more than twenty years of experience working with people from around the world to on personal effectiveness and building workforce capacity.

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