How to Remedy Ineffective Meetings - Dignify
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How to Remedy Ineffective Meetings

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 - Dignify

If you missed our last article, we revealed some surprising statistics on the time and money wasted in ineffective meetings. In this one, we’re going to look into what can be done to remedy those alarming statistics and make your meetings as effective as they can be.

But before we can do that, we need to establish what makes a meeting ineffective for its participants and to their organization. While these lists won’t be exhaustive, they will provide a useful general starting point for us to work with.

For participants, a meeting typically becomes ineffective when it takes up too much time unnecessarily, prevents them from completing tasks and achieving their goals, does not establish clarity or direction, and yields little to no relevant action steps. Meetings like these contribute to fatigue, stress, and burnout on the part of the participant, who correctly feel that their time could be better used somewhere else.

For organizations, meetings become ineffective when they waste time, money, and/or resources that result in lost opportunities and inefficiencies, when they fail to forward or actually impede organizational strategy and objectives, and when they become a contributing factor to employee dissatisfaction and turnover.

The causes and results of ineffective meetings will of course vary depending on your organization’s unique situation. Lucky for us, though, what characterizes an effective meeting tends to be much more universal and set-in-stone. So while the nature of your problem might be super niche, the steps that you can take to start remedying it remain the same.

In our Effective Meetings training course, we recommend a few things to get started:

  • Consider whether a meeting even needs to happen.
    • A lot of time tends to be wasted in meetings that could be handled better in the form of an e-mail thread or a quick chat.
  • If you do determine that something necessitates a meeting, then have the meeting leader(s) build an agenda to guide the discussion beforehand.
  • Invite ONLY those who are absolutely essential and need to be there.
  • Record your meeting or take down notes so that those who may need to be looped in on all or parts of it later can get what they need quickly.
  • Establish meeting roles to be assigned to each participant.
    • This will help keep the discussion on-track, on-time, and relevant to the desired objectives of the meeting.
  • Build a set of ground rules for conduct in the meeting will ensure that each participant both adds and receives value in the process of the conversation. Here a few examples of ground rules:

Cutting down on the number of meetings and the number of participants in each meeting, building agendas, assigning roles, and establishing ground rules are all surefire ways to make your meetings more effective and less costly, even if it might take a little getting used to at first.

Cuncic, Arlin. “What Is Active Listening?” [Article]. 9 November, 2022. Verywellmind. [Accessed October 12, 2023]

Horn, Russ. “The Importance of Being Present and Engaged in Meetings” [Article]. 5 July, 2019. LinkedIn. [Accessed October 12, 2023]

Tiefenbrun, Sara. “Learning how to say hard things: Rumbling with an open heart and mind” [Article]. 3 October, 2022. Of Kin. [Accessed October 12, 2023]

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