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Podcast Summary: Maximizing Meeting Performance


Performance management consultant Ed Eppley, host of the Ed Eppley Experience podcast, interviewed business experts for this three-part series on optimizing meetings. The advice and insights he and his guests offer are valuable for all leaders who want to run efficient, purposeful meetings. A good meeting structure, Eppley teaches, improves team collaboration and productivity and provides a competitive edge, since many organizations overlook this area of optimization.


  • Effective meetings give team members opportunities to collaborate.
  • Say “no” to meetings more often and be fully present when you decide to attend.
  • All meetings should have a purpose and produce specific outcomes.
  • Effective meetings have a rhythm and a clear format.
  • Daily stand-up meetings contribute the most value, even if team members initially push back against them.


Effective meetings give team members opportunities to collaborate.

Interpersonal dynamics that evoke a professor lecturing in a classroom are a sure sign of an ineffective meeting. Productive meetings allow you to function in your role as a leader, but they also provide a space for your team members to collaborate without you having to dominate the discussion or mediate one-on-one interactions.

“Leaders need to own their role in how the meeting is run and the behaviors within the meeting, and hold people accountable to that. ”

Productive meetings make a leader’s job easier, because they allow all team members, no matter their function in the organization, to contribute to a discussion. Leaders can moderate and then step in only when necessary. Such an environment teaches all participants to think like leaders and prevents people from getting stuck in a narrow-minded view of their particular role.

Say “no” to meetings more often and be fully present if you decide to attend.

Try to shorten your meetings or cancel them if they don’t contribute sufficient value. Refuse to attend meetings if you don’t see their purpose and allow others to do the same.

“ I would just say no to meetings more. Give your people and yourself time to work and time to think.”

Another mistake to avoid is deciding to attend a meeting and then not giving it your full attention. Don’t check your email or work on anything else during a meeting. Be completely present to get the most out of the meeting and to demonstrate attentive behavior for your team.

All meetings should have a purpose and produce specific outcomes.

Executives shouldn’t spend a whole day in meetings only to realize afterward that they haven’t formulated any concrete decisions or action plans that will move the matter at hand forward. Any invitation to a meeting should communicate a clear purpose. The meeting’s goal should be to accomplish that purpose, not necessarily to establish consensus among team members.

Take the final moments of a meeting to write and share a list of clear decisions that participants made during the meeting, including action points for team members. Usually, a meeting can reach four or five working decisions, although those decisions are not set in stone – they can evolve and can change depending on future circumstances. Leaders should keep everyone on all levels of an organization updated if any ongoing decisions or plans become no longer relevant.

James Felton, principal consultant at the Table Group, suggests that meetings can have six potential outcomes:

  1. Align and inform.
  2. Discuss a specific issue or topic.
  3. Make a decision.
  4. Take a strategic view.
  5. Develop people on the team.
  6. Report and have accountability for previously adopted actions points.

Felton recommends selecting only one or two of these targeted results for any specific meeting and sticking to them. This keeps everyone on track and prevent a “meeting stew”– when attendees do not align on the purpose and intended outcomes of a meeting.

Good meetings have a rhythm and a clear format.

Organizational expert and frequent business author Patrick Lencioni outlines four meeting formats, which both Felton and podcast host Ed Eppley advise implementing: a daily stand-up, a weekly tactical session, a monthly or ad hoc strategic meeting, and a quarterly offsite gathering.​​​​​​

Additionally, one-on-one meetings can be useful for personnel development, but leaders should beware of over-relying on them because they can create silos among different organizational roles and hamper individuals from getting a full picture of priorities that affect their whole team or organization.

Work to build a regular rhythm for meetings. Discourage skipping or rescheduling meetings. A meeting routine provides a necessary, reliable structure and discipline for your team.

Switching between tactical and strategic lenses is difficult, but changing the scenery and adding novelty to your meetings can help. That’s why Eppley and Skysale Food executive Sam Wiley suggest holding strategic and tactical meetings in different rooms and getting your team offsite every three months.

“When you need to think strategically, you need to get out of your day-to-day.”

Pam Priddy of Necco Foster Care remembers that she particularly appreciated her company’s finely tuned meeting structure when she held daily stand-ups with her team at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although no one could have predicted its long-range complexity, her team members felt a productive sense of connection. The pandemic did not hinder their workflow thanks to the firm’s established meeting routines.

Daily stand-up meetings contribute the most value, even if team members initially push back against them.

Among Felton’s consulting clients, instituting daily stand-up team meetings proved the most difficult change to implement due to team members’ initial reluctance to participate, but these sessions ended up contributing the most productive value.

This format provides several advantages. First, it’s a team-cohesion tool that offers an opportunity for a leader to catch up with everyone on the team regularly.Second, it’s a focusing tool. Every team member states what he or she is working on that day and what value that contributes to the business.

“I love to trot out [this statement] in a daily check-in: the most important thing, my number one priority, that I’m going to do today to drive the business forward in the next 24 hours is…”

Third, the daily stand-up serves as a functional team-alignment tool. Everyone on your team becomes more informed about the members’ ongoing work, and the leader can address challenges before they turn into problems.

About the Podcast

Ed Eppley, host of The Ed Eppley Experience podcast, is head of The Eppley Group. James Felton is a consultant at the Table Group. Dan Wiley is VP of special projects at the Katie Farming Group. Sam Wiley is head of Skysale Foods, a food and supplement industry consultancy. Pam Priddy is Chief Strategy Officer at Necco Foster Care.

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