Purposeful Meetings

by Mateusz Kuczera

Published June 26, 2023

Barely awake on a Tuesday morning, Shikon dials the phone number of the conference call and realizes he’s the only one on time. He starts making his coffee while waiting for the rest of the team.

“Hey!” a voice suddenly resonates from his phone’s speaker. “I’m so sorry I’m late!”

“Morning, boss,” says Shikon between two yawns.

“Hey Shikon! You’re the only one on?”

“Yeah. Been waiting for like 5 minutes now.”

“Right,” replies Mirka, the manager, thoughtfully. “Okay, well, let’s go you and me for now.”

“Sure,” says Shikon as he rolls his eyes. “What do you wanna talk about?”

“Uhm,” starts Mirka, before pausing for a few seconds. “Uh, I don’t know. What about you?”

While pouring milk into his coffee and vigorously shaking his head, Shikon answers “listen boss, I got enough work today. If we don’t need to talk and there’s no one else on, can we just hang up?”

“Well, yeah, I guess. But Shikon, let me know if anything, okay?”

“Sure boss. Have a good day.” Shikon hangs up, takes a sip of his coffee and heads to the bathroom for a shower. As he hops under the water, he thinks “why do we do these stupid meetings daily? Waste of time… Ugh, I could have taken my time this morning and not rush to waste my time. Gosh…”

Shikon is not the only one who feels meetings are a waste of time. And without proper preparation of the content and consideration for the frequency, Shikon’s situation will happen to many other people as well. Communication in management is one of the pillars of a successful business, but many entrepreneurs improvise this aspect and end up making things more difficult instead of easier.

As we’ve seen in a previous article, the theory of communication provides invaluable insight as to how to conduct what type of communication, but it doesn’t provide information as to when or at what frequency to conduct them.

Day-to-day Operations Discussions

It is recommended to have day to day operations (also called tactical) communication exactly as the title says it – on a daily or semi-daily basis. This ensure that there is a dedicated time to have discussions about how to plan the day and who to assign where. A simple morning phone call or videoconference is usually sufficient and can be supplement with chat and individual phone calls throughout the day. However, it is also important to adapt the frequency to the need of the business. If daily is too often, reduce to three times a week. If still too much, reduce to twice. If not enough, increase. You will know from employee feedback when the frequency is too high, and from tasks being continuously late or incomplete that it is too low.

Management Discussions

Management discussions should be held at least once a week. These discussions should be done at least via videoconference and if possible, in person and should last at least 30 minutes. Content may vary from metrics review, project progress, to some necessary and general management topics. Same as day-to-day discussions, adjust the content and frequency to the current need of the business.

Strategy Discussions

Strategy discussions should be held face-to-face as they usually include sensitive and confidential topics. These meetings should be held between once every two weeks and once a month to ensure the business is still on track with the desired strategy. Only on exception should these discussions be held virtually. Strategy discussions should be held at the very least monthly even if there is no formal content. Have a regular touch point with the management team will generate discussions even without having content ready.

Meeting Tips

When driving scheduled discussions, commonly called meetings, several small things can contribute either to an effective and productive meeting or a waste of time.

  • Define the purpose. Before scheduling a meeting, think about what needs to be accomplished, whether it is to make a decision, solve a problem, update on project status. This will help define the approach, content and structure. Once the purpose is defined, the appropriate material should be prepared.
  • Prepare content. Starting by preparing some content, weather visual or verbal, will help determining most of the items below. It will also force the mental exercise of preparing.
  • Make an agenda. An agenda is a roadmap for the meeting, outlining the topics that will be covered and the order in which they will be discussed. By having an agenda, the meeting will stay on track and important issues should be addressed.
  • Keep the meeting small. Small meetings are often more productive than large ones. Invite mainly the people who are directly involved in the issues at hand, so that the discussion can be more focused.
  • Find an appropriate time slot. Create a meeting draft and include all the invitees required. Make sure to distinguish between who need to be there and who is optional. Find a timeslot which fits most required invitee’s schedule.
  • Send the invitation. Once the purpose, content and agenda are ready, write a small introduction to your invite (purpose) and include the preliminary agenda. It will help attendees get prepared. When done, send out the invitation.
  • Stick to the schedule. Once a time and date for the meeting is set, it's important to stick to it. This sends a message that your colleagues' time and contributions are valued and respected. Avoid rescheduling meetings if possible.
  • Be early. To ensure IT equipment works and all your content is ready beforehand, try starting the meeting (or opening the connection) a few minutes early.
  • Stick to the agenda. Stay on agenda. Some discussion will of course diverge and some require brainstorming, but returning to the purpose and agenda is recommended. Meetings which don’t follow the agenda tend to last longer and not fulfil their purpose.
  • Encourage participation. Encourage all attendees to participate in the discussion. One way to do this is by asking open-ended questions and letting people speak for themselves.
  • Take notes. It's always good to have a note taker for the meeting too, to keep track of points and action items for further follow up.
  • Follow up on action items. At the end of the meeting, make sure that any action items that were assigned are followed-up on. Send out an email which summarizes decisions made (minutes) and the next steps that need to be taken as well as the status of open tasks (actions).
  • Review the meeting. To make sure that meetings are productive, review the meetings regularly. Take note of what went well, what didn't, and what can be improved.

By following these tips, meetings will be productive, focused, efficient, effective, and will fulfill their purpose. A well-run meeting can save time and make for a more pleasant work environment for all.


Not all organizations require the same level of discussions and meetings, but all of them require a minimum. Using the tips and recommendations in this article will help structure communications and will make them more effective and efficient. And always remember to use the recommendations from the article The Importance of Communication!

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