Three most common unproductive meeting observations

In his book, Inner Game of Work, Timothy Gallwey, shares a startlingly simple technique he uses with clients to address what he hears as the three most common observations of why meetings are unproductive.  They are:

  1. “We don’t stick to the agenda.”
  2. “Meetings neither start nor end on time.”
  3. “A few of the people do most of the talking.”

If your team suffers from one or more of these, here is what Gallwey suggests you try for a week or two.  

  1. Ask one attendee to focus on “adherence to agenda.” – Ask him/her to simply raise his/her hand each time s/he observes the conversation wandering.
  2. Ask another attendee to observe the starting and ending time of the meeting and, if possible, to observe the amount of time allotted and spent on each agenda item.
  3. Finally, ask a third attendee to keep track of the frequency and total length of time each person speaks.

Do not make any corrections or recommendations for a few weeks. Do not share any of the data collected on these three areas. Just make sure the areas are tracked during the meeting and observe any changes in behavior over time.  Resist the need to DO!

You may find that, over the next few weeks, merely by virtue of the team’s heightened awareness of these variables, meetings will start and end on time, you will have fewer and fewer instances of wandering off the agenda, and participation will become more evenly distributed and speaking more succinct.

Let me know how it goes.


Running effective and efficient meetings is one of the key elements in the growth framework I help my clients craft and implement over time.   Please see graphical representation below:

Please feel free to contact me if you want to talk through the process in more detail.

Be Exceptional!

Bill  – Certified Growth Coach
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Published by Bill Flynn

Gazelles Member Advisor and early stage startup specialist with a proven track record with 16 Boston-based startups (9 to date with 5 successful outcomes, advisor to 7 others); SMB to Fortune 500 companies. 20+ years of Senior Sales, Marketing and GM experience in industries including mobile advertising, security, digital advertising, e-commerce and IT. Core Competencies: Player/Coach, Metrics-driven, Execution-based philosophy, Life-long learner

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