Jonny’s ten ways to avoid result-free meetings

Have you ever been in a meeting and wondered “what am I doing here?”, or worse still, “what is this for…why is anyone here?”?

If you have, chances are you will have been a participant in one of those all-too-common business gatherings which produce no useful outcome: the Result-Free Meeting.

Here’s Jonny’s top 10 tips to power your powwows and add get-up-and-go to your get-togethers!

1: Clarify the purpose of the meeting to all attendees. Make it clear what needs to be achieved and why.

2: Produce an agenda of no more than 5 items, and circulate to all invitees at least 48 hours in advance. This should allocate time to each item, and should not include an “Any other business” line. AOB encourages waffle, and distracts from any clear outcome you are trying to achieve.

3: Set personal objectives for the meeting beforehand. These need not be openly shared, but knowing what you need to achieve from the event will help to focus your input.

4: Don’t invite more than 5 people, plus you. Research shows that meeting effectiveness declines exponentially in inverse proportion to the number of attendees over six.

5: Encourage commitment by setting preparation tasks for your colleagues. They will be much more likely to support your objectives if they have already spent time working towards them beforehand.

6: Take minutes; preferably on a template, by hand or electronically. Arguing later over who said what, and over what was decided, is almost worse than not having a meeting at all.

7: Agree action points for every delegate to achieve following the meeting, and circulate to all within 48 hours.

8: Set a date for the next meeting, if any.

9: Critique effectiveness as a group before disbanding. Discuss what went well, and what could be improved next time you need to meet.

10: Don’t meet if a conference call, email, memo or intranet posting will do the job just as well. Your group will respond best when you impose on the smallest amount of their time, plus they will respect meetings more when they know you only call them when really necessary.

Have a question you’d like Jonny Cooper to address? You can submit it by either adding a comment to this post or by e-mailing it to

2 thoughts on “Jonny’s ten ways to avoid result-free meetings

  1. Your site is seriously weird looking on my iphone, why is that?
    Needed to log onto my PC to finish reading.
    Excellent stuff, but I detest not being able to use my iphone


    • Hi Robbie,

      Thanks for your feedback, and your kind words. I have the Mobile option in WordPress enabled, so it should be formatting correctly. Do you have the WordPress iOS app? It’s really good, and works ok on my iPhone 4s. Apologies for the lack of recent content on the blog. Lots of other great stuff taking my time! Jonny


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