Make meeting productive

10+ tricks that make meetings better

Make meetings more productive

Quick check-in: How do you feel when you think about your last meeting? Can you remember how it felt afterwards? Were you motivated and energized? Or confused and tired?

For many of us, meetings are part of our daily work routine. Unfortunately, they don't always achieve their goal, which is to illuminate issues from different perspectives, unearth new insights and deliver better results. There are some basic rules that can make this more successful. We have just implemented one of them here:

Meetings as time eaters - Today, executives spend more than 20 hours a week in meetings. At the same time, they say only 17 percent of their meetings are productive and time well spent.

Neue Narrative, Magazin für neues Arbeiten

1. Check-in and check-out are at the beginning and end. 

  • At check-in, all participants have their say and share their feelings. This establishes closeness and creates the basis for constructive collaboration.
  • At check-out, the meeting is briefly reflected upon and there is room for suggestions for improvement.

2. The goal is known to all. 

  • What do you want to achieve with the scheduled meeting? If the goal is clearly stated, it is easier to achieve.
  • If it is already communicated with the invitation, you can also decide for yourself whether your contribution is important and your participation necessary.

Constructive meetings increase corporate success - Studies show that constructive behavior in meetings increases job satisfaction and correlates with subsequent company success.

Neue Narrative, Magazin für neues Arbeiten

3. The meeting has a clear structure.

  • An agenda helps keep all participants on task. Ideally, the agenda is set before the meeting and leaves room for topics to arise spontaneously.

4. Meetings need preparation.

  • Meetings need structure and therefore preparation. It's good to remember that every minute of individual preparation time saves time in the meeting for each person present and reduces the risk of things getting out of hand.

5. Meetings become more efficient with facilitation.

  • Clear leadership is needed when facilitating a meeting.
  • Facilitators keep the meeting on schedule and focused on the goal. They even decide what input and discussion is helpful at any given time.

6. Strategy, operational, relationship? The focus is on one level.

  • Be it unresolved conflicts or strategic discussions of principles, when actually only the next steps of a project are planned - it saves time (and nerves) to discuss only one level in the meeting.

Time is zero-sum. Every minute spent in a wasteful meeting eats into time for solo work that's equally essential for creativity and efficiency.

Harvard Business Review, July-August 2017

7. Roles are distributed.

  • In addition to the standard roles in meetings (taking notes, moderating, time keeping), your own role is also important: In which role are you currently speaking? This keeps the focus more on the matter at hand and less on people / egos.

8. Some discussions / topics are simply outsourced.

  • In a meeting there should be room for topics that concern everyone present. It is worthwhile to shorten discussions (moderation!) or to outsource them to a 1:1 meeting.

Meetings are essential for enabling collaboration, creativity, and innovation. They often foster relationships and ensure proper information exchange. They provide real benefits.

Harvard Business Review, July-August 2017

9. It is about updates, changes, new things.

  • Instead of talking about what didn't happen or went wrong (no relevance to the team), the meeting should bring up what still needs to be done or accomplished.

10. Results-oriented language.

  • Clear questions and messages rely on "I" and "you" and active language. Instead of "You should," better use "I need from you ..."

💡 Even more tips: Good meetings …

  • have an open agenda
  • address real issues from people involved (and not from people not present).
  • lead to clear next steps

Short check-out: Which of the rules mentioned here is helpful for you? What can you implement directly at the next meeting? Small reminder: Every improved meeting brings real added value to your organization!

The right hardware for meetings

König + Neurath equips meeting rooms. As different as they may be. From an acoustically optimized retreat area in open space to the best table for your next video conference - we'll be happy to sit down with you.

Discover the diverse configuration options of the table system TALO.YOU conference

For this magazine article, we were inspired by the innovative business magazine for new work Neue Narrative (highly recommended!) and used the following sources: 

(2022, April 12). Time Online. The meeting plague: too many meetings are harmful for companies. URL: (as of Sept. 19, 2023). 

(2017, July-August). L. A. Perlow, C. Noonan Hadley, E. Eun: Stop the Meeting Madness. How to free up time for meaningful work. URL: // (as of Sept. 19, 2023). 

S. Klein: Use these ground rules to create meetings that energize. URL:

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