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CEO’s, GMs, HR Directors, Senior Leaders and Managers are always looking for and using techniques to get the most out of their team meetings. They have so many and need to make them all count. Through research and practical application, I have found these techniques are not only popular but effective and best of all EASY TO IMPLEMENT!

1: Start with Gratitude

“What are you grateful for?” It’s a question we regularly put to teams and individuals on our programs. Taking a moment to be grateful can have a grounding effect, but also has an amazing effect on lifting your spirit and the spirit of others. It makes you smile, perhaps laugh and works as a fantastic icebreaker for the start of a meeting.

Shawn Achor, author, researcher of the Happiness Advantage says “75% of job success is predicted by optimism level, social support, and ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat”.

Like all humans, we want to be appreciated, so one of the easiest ways to demonstrate gratitude is to say “thank you”. “Thank you for taking the time to think this through”, “thank you for making that point”, “thank you for listening”, “thanks for meeting me in your busy day”, “thanks for replying so quickly”. On the outside “thank you” might seem like a small gesture but has the ability to leave a big impression.

This snippet was borrowed from our article on corporate etiquette: 3 ways a professional can get R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

2: Walk and Talk

There is a lot of research on the benefits of walking and talking meetings. Getting out for a walk and talk literally takes your thinking outside the box and the act of side-by-side walking can help break down “organisational hierarchy”.

Walk and talk meetingThis Stanford Study found that walking can boost a person’s creative output by an average of 60 per cent.

It also looked at the benefits of the cycle desk and found the benefits to be the same. Have you seen one of these in action? PwC, an Australian company I’ve worked for that are big on innovative ways to collaborate have two in their open plan meeting areas.

Tips for a Successful Walk’n’Talk

  • Use it to brainstorm
  • Have a destination – but let your team work out the route on the go
  • Don’t bring the whole team – so as to have the opportunity to walk beside each other. (2 is best, 3 maximum)

3: Add Value or Get Out

This might seem brave but if you think you are not adding value to a discussion or meeting get out of the way so other people can. This is one of Elon Musk’s personal productivity tips he’s shared with his team.

Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.

The only thing I would add to this is if you really can’t leave – listen! Take the opportunity to improve your understanding of the situation and your Team Intelligence.

the-25-minute-meeting4: Keep Meetings to 25 Minutes

Through the networking group, LBD Group, I’m part of, I have the great pleasure of knowing Donna McGeorge who has written a book called THE 25-MINUTE MEETING.

“The problem is that we actually need meetings. We need them at work because when they work, they are valuable” says Donna, “but what we don’t need is for meetings to waste our time, money and resources. That’s where a 25-minute meeting can help. A meeting that is short, sharp and productive. A meeting that gets the job done efficiently. A meeting that gets more value in way less time — seriously”.

Donna’s book explains how you can get rid of those long meetings and get more done in less time. Buy it here.

5: Always Build on Team Intelligence.

There are a number of values that contribute to optimal team performance but none quite as powerful as Team Intelligence, and meetings offer an amazing opportunity to develop it. This image is a quick snapshot of the values of Team Intelligence.What is Team Intelligence

This article really breaks down what TeamQ™ is and how to grow it in your organisation for success. What is Team Intelligence?

The great thing about building Team Intelligence is that its success is generated from the small actions we do consistently.

6: Deal with the Elephants

This might sound like the long way around to meeting efficiency but if a lack of engagement is an issue for your team, you need to find out why.

Here’s a snippet with some context from an article we wrote on Problems Keeping CEOs Up at Night and how to solve them.

Every problem in an organisation has a backstory – a why – lack of engagement and reduced productivity included. One of the best ways to solve these problems is by focusing on the company’s culture. A healthy company culture is fundamental to its success. Equally, an unhealthy culture will permeate through everything the organisation does (including the ‘care factor’ in meetings).

The good news is that it’s the small actions that change a negative culture into a healthy one. Yes, you do need to be strategic but creating a culture of success isn’t as overwhelming as it sounds it just requires time. Here’s a 2-minute read on Creating a Success Culture.

These articles on Why Your Company Core Values are BS and The Cost of Leadership Problems might also be of interest.

7: P-P-P-P-P Prepare!

We all know that saying about Poor Preparation Produces Poor Performance (I think there might be another one or two p’s in there somewhere) – so prepare!

Whether you are organising the meeting or attending one, be clear about its purpose. What are you hoping to achieve from the meeting? What are the expectations? What do you need or need to know before the meeting commences? Be accountable for making the meeting as effective and productive as possible.

Productivity PlannerSomething I highly recommend for achieving peak personal productivity is using a Productivity Planner like this one pictured here.

This isn’t just for senior leadership, it’s for everyone. It’s a fabulous time-management tool for the endless busy work of emails, meetings, and distractions that often eat up your day and leave you feeling unaccomplished.

It combines the Pomodoro Technique. Have you heard of it? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks….there’s that 25-minute recommendation again!

Want one? Check out: Productivity Planner


The purpose of any team meeting should be to move forward, be actionable and improve collaboration and Team Intelligence™. If it’s any less than then why not try one of these tips?

And drop me an email. I’d love to know how it goes for you.


Gabriella Horak WYE business card

Recommended Resources and Reading

Productivity Planner

The 25 Minute Meeting

Stanford study finds walking improves creativity

How to Switch to Walking Meetings

Elon Musk’s productivity tip

Problems Keeping CEOs Up at Night

The Cost of Leadership Problems

What is Team Intelligence?