(by Fogelberg, ISBN 9780190689216)

Section 1: Setting the Meeting Stage

Bad meetings can drain the life out of individuals and organizations. Meetings done well, leveraging these solutions, can be transformative and hugely positive.

Chapter 1: So Many Meetings and So Much Frustration

People attend a lot of meetings.

Work meeting: a gathering of two or more employees for a purpose related to the functioning of an org or group. The gathering can occur in a single modality (a video conference) or in a mixed-modality format (mostly face-to-face with one participant connected via phone). Typically meetings are scheduled in advance and are informally or formally facilitated by one of the attendees. Meetings can be of any length (five minutes to all day).

***Why are there so many meetings?***: Changing societal and organizational zeitgeist around work. Beliefs around the value and benefits of employee inclusion, of empowerment, of teams, of employee buy-in, employee engagement--meetings are a key mechanism to express these values. Democratization has penetrated deeply into organizational life, with "command-and-control" leadership models becoming less dominant. This leads to more meetings.

Meetings are the mechanism to bring people together, gain input, promote discussion, promote synergy, provide voice, explain things, coordinate, foster ownership, and learn/grow as a unit.

How much money are we investing in meetings? Lots. Most cost estimates do not take into consideration indirect costs associated with bad meetings: opportunity cost, psychological damage (from suffering through bad meetings: erosion of employee engagement, frustration, spirit, plus time spent grousing about bad meetings).

Ask Science: Are meetings an effective use of time? Most surveys say no. But it's never 100%, some meetings are in fact positive.

Self-Assessment: Are you maximizing your ROI from your meetings? The Meeting Quality Assessment, which covers:


  1. The amount of time we are spending in meetings is increasing, esp when we look at those involving upper mgmt.
  2. The amount of time spent in meetings translates into big momey for companies.
  3. Although there is evidence to suggest that meetings are a waste of time and are negative experiences for employees, there are also data to suggest that meetings can be productive and meaningful.
  4. Take the time to do the self-assessment to validate progress.

Chapter 2: Get Rid of Meetings? No, Solve Meetings through Science

Would eliminating meetings make the world a better place? No.

We need to meet, and we need to meet critical needs. Meetings:

We must make meetings better, not eliminate them.

Brief Introduction: Ways Scientists study meetings

Section 2: Evidence-Based Strategies for Leaders

Chapter 3: The Image in the Mirror is Likely Wrong

Human bias in how we perceive ourselves Various psychological biases about ourselves.

Focusing back on meeting leadership Meeting leaders frequently rated their meetings more favorably than non-leaders.

What an organization can do to improve leader self-awareness The path to meeting enlightenment is multipronged. Orgs can develop systems and practices that promote self-awareness (and accountability) among their leaders more broadly.

Chapter 4: Meet for Forty-Eight Minutes

Chapter 5: Agendas Are a Hollow Crutch

Chapter 6: The Bigger, the Badder

Chapter 7: Don't Get Too Comfortable in That Chair

Chapter 8: Deflate Negative Energy from the Start

Chapter 9: No More Talking!

Chapter 10: The Folly of the Remote Call-in Meeting

Chapter 11: Putting It All Together

Epilogue: Trying to Get Ahead of the Science--Using Science


Tags: reading   management   meetings  

Last modified 02 June 2023