Meetings are an essential part of most people’s working lives, providing a forum to collaborate, share individual thoughts and consider team and organisational ideas. But they can often multiply and become so ever-present that they feel unnecessary, monotonous and exhausting.

Unnecessary or poorly planned meetings can be detrimental to employee wellbeing and performance. However, when attendees see meetings as effective, they are more likely to attend them, hold positive attitudes towards them and display positive behaviours during them. 

This evidence review draws on the best available evidence to explore the importance of meeting effectiveness, and the success factors that managers and people professionals should consider.

  • See the practice summary for the main insights and practical recommendations for action. 
  • See the scientific summary for our methodology and technical information on the research and study references.

Productive meetings: An evidence review | Practice summary

Download the practice summary
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Productive meetings: An evidence review | Scientific summary

Download the scientific summary
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Key recommendations

To ensure meetings are built for success, managers and leaders should:

  • Be prepared: share a meaningful agenda that clarifies what the goals of the meeting are and encourage advance input. 
  • Encourage participation among the group: meeting leaders can also help create a safe space by lightening the mood through small talk, icebreakers and humour. 
  • Hold longer meetings, less often: meeting too regularly is more likely to negatively influence effectiveness, satisfaction and wellbeing than meeting duration.
  • Be punctual: meetings should start and end on time: poor punctuality can affect satisfaction, group cohesion and trust.
  • Promote learning and development: people professionals can help meeting leaders become more effective through training programmes on meeting management.
  • Be inclusive: identify that the norms and expectations of meetings differ consistently across cultures and adapt their approach accordingly.

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