How to Run Meetings & Not Suck Out People’s Souls

The M word. It’s enough to strike fear in the heart of the savviest professionals. And no, I’m not talking about Millennials. That’s another blog post entirely.

Meetings. There are 25 million meetings per day in the United States, and the vast majority (67%, if you ask executives), are considered utterly worthless. Here are a few more stats to make you question your calendar, courtesy of Fuze.

  • More than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings.
  • Upper management spends nearly 50% of their time in meetings.
  • A least half of you are reading this article while sitting in an unproductive meeting. Okay, that last stat may not be true. But 92% of survey respondents admit to multi-tasking during meetings.

While the digital world offers us endless solutions for communicating with our coworkers, there is no true substitute for gathering people face-to-face. Here at Brains, we spend a lot of time working collaboratively. And since our inboxes and to-do lists aren’t getting any shorter, we spend a lot of time refining how we collaborate. One thing we’ve gotten to a science? Meeting etiquette.



Here are our tried-and-tested tips for keeping meetings meaningful.


1. Ask yourself: is this meeting necessary?

And if it you must meet, set a time limit and stick to it.

2. Is it a social meeting vs working? Mix it up.

Can you walk and meet? Grab coffee? Or take a ride? A change of place can lead to change in perspective.

3. Set your top goal(s) for the meeting.*

What do you absolutely need to accomplish before people walk out of the room?

4. You better have an agenda.

Ideally, circulate the agenda with the meeting participants ahead of time. For repeating meetings, keep the meeting structure and agenda consistent so that there are no grumbles or surprises when you come in and get right to work. *I like to write my top goals on the agenda. Eyes on the prize.

5. If you called the meeting, be ready to lead it.

This doesn’t mean you must be married to your agenda. It’s ok for conversation to wander a bit – it should, we’re creative humans. But know when it’s time to refocus and own your role as meeting leader.

6. End with next steps.

Make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of what’s next. Feel like you left a meeting without this clarity? A follow up email outlining the who & what is never a bad idea.

7. Ask for feedback!

I personally like to ask meeting participants on how to make my meetings more effective.


Want more on the meeting madness? Have at it.

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