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Why do meetings get such bad press?

Who hasn’t heard a colleague complain about having too many meetings or wasting time attending a conference that is pretty, or even completely, pointless​.​

What if it was just a question of positioning, organisation and respect?

Firstly, positioning. Why is a meeting necessary? What is the point? If ten people show up but the topic only concerns one of them, then you can be sure that only one attendee will find the meeting useful. An example would be those meetings where each sales manager gives an overview of their own sales and the director asks them questions in turn. During this time, the others are imagining all the work they could be doing if they weren’t there. THE question to ask is ‘would one-on-one meetings be more efficient?’

Secondly, organisation. The aim of a meeting, its agenda and what is expected of each attendee should be made clear to everyone. Feel free to allow people the choice to take part or not. And if you need to go through long documents, consider sending them out beforehand.

Lastly, respect. Stick to the start time and duration planned. Don’t be afraid to cut a discussion short if it is going on for too long. You can always organise another meeting to follow up on the matter.

Time spent in meetings represents a cost for the company. Want a nice way to measure how well your meeting went? Calculate a ROTI (Return On Time Invested): each attendee raises their hand to vote, on a scale of 1 to 5, on how useful their time spent has been. The image below describes the various levels.

Take the time afterwards to speak with those who voted ‘one’ or ‘two’ so you get feedback on how to improve and better use their time. Maybe it is just as easy as letting them react to the minutes later on.

Do you have any of your own tips or tricks? Share them!


  • Esher Derby “The ROTI Method for Gauging Meeting Effectiveness“

  • Esther Derby, Diana Larsen “Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great“

  • Jean Claude GROSJEAN, “Return on Time invested … A ROTI for your meetings !”

What about you ? Do you have similar or different experiences? Let me know, I'll be happy to discuss it with you!

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