Most of us have a love-hate relationship with meetings. On the one hand, we know that meetings are an essential mechanism for decision making and communication in pursuit of our goals. Some of us also appreciate their cultural importance, given meetings convey leadership expectations and behavioral norms.

On the other hand, meetings can consume enormous amounts of time and energy without always providing an appropriate return on that investment. From our research, we know that most leaders rate their meetings at no more than 50% effective. In other words, the best we can say is that the most important meetings in organizations, attended by the most senior people, are half as effective as they could or should be. The direct and indirect cost of this ineffectiveness is incalculable.

In theory, when smart people get together in a room, they should produce outcomes and insights greater than the sum of their parts. In practice, fear, ego, and self-interest often produce the exact opposite.

There are lots of great practices to improve meeting effectiveness, but success begins with personal motive. Every person in a meeting should ask themselves two questions; “why am I really attending?” And “what is my unique contribution?” Ideally, you will attend meetings to make a material contribution, not out of habit, a lack of trust in your colleagues, or a need for control. Even better, you will make a contribution that is unique, meaningful, and purposeful.

Inspiration from others

“The world is run by those willing to sit until the end of meetings.” – Hugh Park

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not, and never will achieve its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.” – Dave Barry

Questions to reflect on

  • How effective are the meetings that you attend?
  • What is your motive for attending those meetings?
  • What is your unique contribution to those meetings?

If you would like to increase the effectiveness of your meetings, you can take a complimentary 30-day trial of my leadership app, Enixa, at If you would like to use Enixa to create more leaders in your team or organisation, contact [email protected].

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about PETER

For two decades, Dr. Peter Fuda has been a Sherpa to leaders, teams and organizations across the globe. He’s coached more than 250 CEOs to measurably higher levels of performance. His consulting company has delivered dozens of cases of business transformation and thousands of individual cases of leadership transformation, at a success rate of greater than 90%.

Find out more about Peter

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I introduced Enixa to my top 100 leaders to create more capability and alignment across the team. Within a few short months, its powerful impact was evident, individually and collectively.

Andy PennCEO, Allied Pinnacle