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A meeting takes place when a group gathers to address one or more tasks or issues. Meetings are often ineffective because leaders lack the skills and techniques required to make meetings more effective.

Planning Effective Meetings, Why?

Why meetings may be ineffective?

  • Unclear purposes – Poorly planned meetings often lack a clear purpose. As a result, objectives aren't met and the organizer's credibility can be compromised.

  • Ineffective agendas and facilitation strategies – Poor planning often yields agenda or facilitation strategies that fail to achieve the desired result. Without properly designed strategies, attendees can't prepare in advance and meetings can veer off topic.  

  • Meetings are too long or held too often – Meetings are an expensive form of communication, so arranging too many of them can be costly. Meetings that are too long are tiring, which can diminish their effectiveness, often compromising their outcome. This often reduces confidence in the project and its organizers.

  • Results aren't noted – Failing to record and communicate the outcome of a meeting can give employees the impression that the meeting was unnecessary, which can negatively affect attendance in the future.

Planning effective meetings
Colored pencil tips
Important to remember

- Effective meetings must have a clear purpose and agenda so they can start and end on time.

- They require a structure to stay on track, and they should also provide clear follow-up action.

- Finally, meetings should encourage a variety of perspectives in order to generate positive ideas and solutions.

Making meetings as effective as possible is important for 4 reasons:


1. Their high cost – Meetings are one of the most expensive forms of workplace communication. See how to calculate a cost meeting


2. They directly impact the quality of decisions –  Important information is often held by people in different parts of an organization. Having access to the right information from the right sources improves the quality of decisions.

3. The degree of buy-in from participants – Employee buy-in and support for decisions is essential for the success of any initiative. When employees feel like they're being heard, their degree of buy-in increases. Meetings are a good place to encourage this sense of cooperation through participation.

4. When a significant level of buy-in is achieved, a general consensus for decisions may be reached. A cooperative meeting atmosphere is also an effective venue for resolving any conflicts that arise. Since ongoing conflicts can impede progress, it's especially important that time be devoted to conflict resolution.

The effectiveness of follow-through encourages future commitment – Since a meeting often ends with the distribution of assignments, individuals often feel empowered to achieve their tasks with a greater sense of vigor.

Challenges to effective meetings:


• First, employees are increasingly busy. They're often out of the office, or in different locations. So organizing meetings at a time and place that suits everyone can be difficult.

• The structure of organizations. Today, organizations tend to grant more responsibility to employees and thus demand more participation from them at meetings. This can result in more perspectives vying for attention which can make keeping meetings on schedule more difficult.


• Employee turnover. Newer employees may need to be introduced to company protocols in meetings, which may frustrate existing employees already familiar with such details.

Take away

• Because meetings are costly, they must be as productive as possible.


• Productive meetings require thorough planning, which can be time consuming and labor intensive. But strong planning is one of the surest ways to maximize your investment.


• Planning effective meetings has four general benefits:

  1. Keeping costs down.

  2. Tend to yield good decision-making.

  3. When participants are able to voice their perspectives, it increases their level of buy-in, which means they'll likely support initiatives more readily.

  4. Distributing assignments at the end of meetings keeps the attendees involved and eager to achieve their tasks. This also encourages them to participate in future meetings.

Ineffective meetings are all too common in organizations today and most often occur because of poor planning.