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Make your meetings MAD and make a difference.

Clients are always complaining about too many meetings and how many of them are a waste of time. Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s time – make your meetings MAD!

Prepare to Make A Difference (valid for if you are attending a meeting or running it):

Ask yourself; “Do you need to attend this meeting? Or would someone else benefit more or be more valuable?”

Set your intentions for the meeting:

What are you trying to achieve? What one thing matters most?

Choose your attitude – what attitude will serve you best in achieving what matters most?

Challenge your negative assumptions? What evidence do you have that makes your assumption a reality? If you don’t have any evidence, then drop the assumption

Consider what might stop you achieving your aims – what can you plan to avoid these?

Visualise a great meeting and you doing all the things you have planned to and feeling great about it

If you are running the meeting, also:

  • Ask yourself: “Is a meeting the best way to achieve your aims?”
  • Make sure the agenda and aims are clear and sent out with the invite
  • Where possible make agenda items questions such as: How do we increase revenues? How do we increase efficiency in X department?
  • Only invite people who really need to be there to contribute
  • Send pre reading at least 48 hours before the meeting
  • Make it as short as possible
  • Have regular breaks
  • Choose the venue and room layout and materials available to best meet the particular aims
  • Appoint a timekeeper and scribe of necessary


During the meeting:

  • Get everyone focussed by asking: “Where do we want to be by the end of this meeting? What is the best way for us to achieve that?”
  • Agree a “No electronic devices” rule, unless someone needs to be contacted in an emergency
  • Get a positive start by asking everyone to share a recent success or recognise someone in the room or state a positive intention for the meeting
  • Avoid group think by asking “if we had to pick holes in this, what would they be?”
  • Avoid over optimism by asking “Let’s assume this fails, what did we miss or get wrong exactly?”
  • Clarify what you all agree on and where you do not agree. On the areas you do not agree summarise each position objectively and agree how you will gather further evidence in order to review the decision and agree on a way forward and when this will be done (car park them)


A positive close:

  • Recap key decisions, decisions car parked and next steps
  • Check out how everyone is feeling about how the meeting went – “What went well for you?”, “Anything you would prefer we did differently next time?”, “Any outstanding concerns?”, “What actions are you taking forward?”


Based on ideas from “How to have a good day” by Caroline Webb, 2016