The future of meetings

A meeting is a forum for face to face team member interactions to find a common position on an issue and decide the next

A meeting is a forum for face to face team member interactions to find a common position on an issue and decide the next steps.

The quality of any meeting is defined by its agenda.

It is 2019, but many people still run their meetings with Agendas of the 1960s. Such an agenda goes as follows:

  1. Opening prayer
  2. Introduction from the Chair
  3. Reactions
  4. Review minutes of the last meeting
  5. Reactions
  6. Reports from finance
  7. Reports from HR
  8. The CEO report
  9. Adjourn

The first item depends on your company values. If you are Christian or Moslem founded Institution, this item is critical. However, item #2 is usually abused. The Chair may talk and talk and talk until people start dozing. For this, modern meetings have this item renamed “Key meeting outcomes from the Chairman.” Today, time is of the essence. You want the Chairman to explain in his communication what the meeting intends to achieve to avoid time wastage in debates that do not get to a conclusion. For this, there is no need to provide for “Reactions” on the agenda. It should be part of the key meeting outcomes item.

And then the “Review of the minutes of the previous meeting” item. The backward-looking item is the biggest time-waster on the agenda. It is so painful for a company to spend over 30 minutes of its top brains reviewing the past meeting minutes so as to approve them as an accurate record of what transpired. The important item in the past meeting is matters arising. It is advisable to share the minutes to all members who attended the past meeting preferably 48 hours after the meeting so that they review, make comments and return to the secretary when the matters are still fresh in their minds. At the meeting, the focus is on signing the minutes and reviewing matters arising as minutes were already reviewed. This saves the meeting time.

Most departmental reports detail what transpired in the past and less about the future of the business. That is why, in the modern way of doing things –the agenda item is strategy review and priorities for the period up to the next meeting. That way, accountability for results is made.

Are your meetings productive?

You can always improve. Visit to download a free template on a sample meeting agenda for the new era organization.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2019. All rights reserved.

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