Blog Home > The Right Ways to Lead a Productive Meeting

The Right Ways to Lead a Productive Meeting

May 28, 2021
By: Arootah
6 min read
Working to meet or meeting to work? Read how to structure and execute productive meetings that are essential to team success.
The Right Ways to Lead a Productive Meeting

Are you working to meet or meeting to work?

Well-conducted meetings create a sense of achievement among the team. Understand the goal of the meeting. Welcome brainstorming to unpack important issues to ultimately achieve substantial decision-making. For a meeting to be successful, it requires extensive planning and strong leadership. In some cases, the planning for the meeting may require more time than the meeting itself. Deliberate preparation invites productive flow and makes the best use of everyone’s time. Establishing a consistent structure ensures all participants know what to expect at each meeting.

As issues are successfully addressed, time moves swiftly, leaving all participants with a positive outlook. If nothing is attained, a meeting can feel frustrating and cause attendees to disengage from the conversation. No one likes to have their time wasted. Being prepared is the most critical factor in leading an effective meeting. Although the work that goes into creating a productive meeting can seem daunting, the resulting efficiencies are worth the effort of preparation.

Never utter “this could have been an email” ever again.

When to schedule a meeting and for how long?

Be judicious with scheduling meetings because they can be a huge time suck. If the meeting is simply to inform staff on company news, consider emailing the announcement. Meetings are about decision-making, unblocking, and empowering the team. If there are no updates or blockages, cancel the meeting and continue your workflow.

People also tend to use the allotted time for meetings or go overtime due to niceties. Be stingy with meeting durations. Fight that psychological urge to fill the duration. If the meeting was scheduled for an hour and you accomplished your goal in 45 minutes, conclude the meeting early. Your team will relish getting that time back to catch up on work or recharge.

Here are the different components of a productive meeting:

Purpose & Objective

Have a goal for your meeting. Answer this: Why are we meeting? What is the problem we are looking to solve? If you determine a well-defined purpose, it keeps the team on track to accomplish the objective. Once the purpose is known, identify the optimal outcome. What would you like to achieve or accomplish during the discussion? Knowing this will allow you to guide the conversation to reach these outcomes and eliminate idle chatter. If you do not know why you are hosting the meeting or what you plan on getting out of it, there is no point in calling the discussion in the first place. 

Prepare a thorough agenda before the meeting to serve as your meeting roadmap.


The quality of your agenda serves the foundation for a meeting. Include the following elements in your meeting agendas:

  • List the questions to ask the team.
  • Point out the decisions to make together. Include the criteria of needs, and a pro/con list for your options. At Arootah, we like to review our decision matrices in our meetings.
  • Remind the team of where you left off in the last meeting and new developments that have since occurred.
  • List other topics to discuss for consideration to support the decision.

Provide your team with these reading materials as soon as possible, even days before the meeting. Offer ample opportunity for teammates to amend the schedule as necessary. Each topic of discussion should have an allotted time limit and mention the key contributors. It is helpful to have a meeting manager to keep track of the time and ‘blow a whistle’ when people go off-topic or out of bounds. A schedule is only as good as the discipline you have to keep it.

Sometimes we veer off course to minor details related to the more significant issue. Before speaking, decide whether the subject needs to be addressed right away. If not, make a note of your topic of concern and propose it for the next meeting agenda. 

Agenda template: 



Last meetings follow ups:


  1. Discussion Point: Person  
  2. Discussion Point: Person  


Make time for what matters most. It is not just about talking more; we want to talk about the most important issues. This is the essence of being effective. Always address the most important and time sensitive points first. Then sequence the other agenda items in order of least significance. If your meeting goes overtime, the team has already covered the most pertinent information. Discuss high leverage points early. If multiple actions depend on one key issue to hash out, bring that to the forefront. Don’t spin your wheels making sense of issues that are reliant on a larger problem. Have the discipline to tackle the tough issues first and you might find that the other problems disappear.


Keep a strict guestlist. While you might want to include teammates to be polite, including fewer people creates a more effective meeting. Only invite people who are directly contributing to decisions. They should have insights on problems and options. Discern whether the individual will be a valid contributor to the topic. If a team member is only relevant to a particular matter, invite them in for a specific time and then let them go. Do not take an hour of someone’s time if fifteen minutes will do. We all know how draining it is to sit through a meeting that has nothing to do with us. It zaps our energy and makes it more challenging to be productive on our tasks. 

Proper Delegation

When assigning tasks, always designate a single person to assume all responsibility for the specific task. Establishing this clarity encourages communication and holds people accountable. You want your team prepared, not embarrassed. Have someone take notes and assign actions to teammates. The follow-up points should be clear and concise. Indicate who is doing what and when in bullet points.

For example:

Follow ups:

  • John – research XYZ by tomorrow EOD
  • Kelsey – identify vendors who can XYZ by the end of the week

Minute Taker

Assign a team member to take notes during the meeting. If a subject is continually discussed without any resolution or completion, it indicates that the meeting is not being properly planned. Reference the previous meeting notes instead of discussing it again.

At the end of each topic, have the mediator summarize what was discussed and state the follow-ups to make sure everyone is on the same page. The minute taker will record this information and email it to each participant at the end of the meeting.

Be on Time

Enforce the importance of being punctual. Everyone’s time should be appreciated and valued. Arriving late inconveniences everyone and sets a bad example. Never recap what has been covered in the meeting to those who show up late. This is essentially starting the discussion over again and rewards bad behavior.

Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are hard to resist, especially the constant ding of a cell phone. Close email, Slack, Twitter, etc. Prohibit the use of phones to keep the forum running smoothly. To be productive, all members should give their full attention to the discussion. This prevents people from having to repeat themselves and allows the meeting to run more efficiently.

Encourage Discussion

Effective meetings invite participation and freedom of opinion. The best decisions come from diversity of thoughts. Disagreements broaden ideas and spark creativity. All communication should be done with kindness and respect. Make sure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute. The mediator should be aware when one person is hijacking the subject matter and invite others to speak. 

Zoom Meetings

For virtual meetings, decide the “venue” just like in-person meetings. Before remote work, we decided if a meeting would be a call or which conference room to use. With remote work, decide if it will be audio or video. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Zoom etiquette exists to create an inviting environment to nurture your team’s relationships.

  • Respect the host’s wish to have either audio or video. It is uncomfortable if a guest is asked to be on camera and you’re only doing audio. You want to create a positive experience, not give guests the creeps.
  • Give your team a break and go audio-only occasionally. Zoom fatigue exists.
  • During video meetings, try looking at the camera rather than the screen. So often, we are distracted by the appearance of ourselves. We look at our image rather than the camera. This makes it hard for listeners to feel connected to the speaker. People may feel more engaged if they think you are looking at them the same way you would in a board room. It is easy to become distracted by people’s faces, expressions, and fidgeting. If you focus on the camera, you won’t become discouraged by your implications of their thoughts and opinions. 
  • Use the mute button if you’re not speaking to limit background noise.
  • If you are sharing your screen, don’t share your desktop! Avoid accidentally broadcasting your embarrassing slacks or personal emails. Share individual documents as needed.


Although the work that goes into creating a productive meeting can seem daunting, the resulting efficiencies are worth the effort of preparation. For any endeavor to be successful, it requires extensive thought. The better planned an event, the more smoothly it goes. Weddings have dress rehearsals, concerts have sound checks, and meetings should have prior deliberation before hosting. By taking time before calling a meeting to organize and define objectives, you map a clear path to productivity. A little planning goes a long way and demonstrates respect for other people’s time. Try starting the meeting with a bit of pep talk stating the purpose and desired outcomes to ensure everyone moves in unison to the same destination. Make sure all action items are accounted for, assigning a person as well as a deadline. Once you establish the consistency of structure, meetings will be both effective and efficient. 


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like:

Want to hear the latest form us?

Receive the Arootah newsletter!

Sign up here

make sure to drink plenty of water

The 6 Worst Effects of Dehydration

The worst effects of dehydration may be inhibiting your performance at work and other areas of your life. Some symptoms are just inconvenient, while others can be life-threatening.

Discipline, Growth

Mindsets of Olympians

We are inspired by the triumphant mindset of an Olympian, but their strength falters just like any other human being. Here’s how they deal with it.

Analysis Paralysis, Business, Focus

How to Avoid Analysis Paralysis

You’ve probably spent hours deliberating options without making a decision. Sometimes it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole and turn a simple selection into a complex problem. However, you can avoid becoming frozen by chronic indecision. Take command of the...

Have you found your purpose
Growth, Personal, Purpose

Have You Found Your Purpose?

 “Finding yourself” isn’t just for a post-adolescent idealistic phase. Now, business professionals are focusing on their ever-elusive Why? If you are asking yourself these questions, you need to find your “why.” Why am I putting effort into this...

Arootah offers Tips for working remotely
Mindset, Remote Work, Stress

How to Leverage Stress in the Workplace

Stress is inevitable. In one way or another, you have experienced it, especially when it comes to working. Stress can feel like drowning under a sea of deadlines or a schedule that is bursting with appointments. However, without pressure, you might not accomplish...

Seaweed Is Seeing Its Way Into the Future
Beauty, Nutrition, Wellbeing

Seaweed Is Seeing Its Way Into the Future

You’ve probably heard about seaweed in products, but did you know of its numerous health and beauty benefits? From decorative to nutritive, seaweed has many wonderful forms and uses. It seems to be everywhere lately, from sushi rolls to smoothies and being one of...

Arootah's 6 Ways that Anger Positively Impacts Your Life
Mindset, Wellbeing

6 Ways that Anger Positively Impacts Your Life

Anger has a bad reputation. For many, it holds negative connotations. Anger is often suppressed and avoided because of shame. The truth is, anger, like every emotion, is a source of potential energy. You can either use that energy to achieve your highest priorities...

How to be Sustainable During the COVID-19 Pandemic

How to be Sustainable During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Practicing sustainability is a necessity for survival. We must think beyond our former collective ways of treating the planet. We can create a healthier future by being mindful of the footprints we leave behind now. When we choose to support the greater good of the...

How to Reduce Sleeplessness with Tea
Energy, Wellbeing

How to Reduce Sleeplessness with Tea

A good night's sleep is a blessing. There is nothing better than falling asleep with ease and waking up fully rejuvenated. Proper rest is vital for our health and wellness, but it is easier said than done for many of us. With anxiety rates skyrocketing due to...

Obesity's Link to COVID-19
Fitness, Wellbeing

Obesity’s Link to COVID-19

A recent study suggests that the average person has gained anywhere from 29-41 lbs. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports show that 61% of adults have experienced unwanted weight gain since March of 2020. For many, it is no surprise that this is the...

The Secrets to a Healthy Gut Microbiome
Energy, Nutrition, Wellbeing

The Secrets to a Healthy Gut Microbiome

Gut health for immunity: The importance of gut health has been rapidly evolving globally. The more we learn, the more we understand that our digestive system's health connects to everything in our bodies, from our brain health to the immune system, chronic disease,...

Coming out of COVID?
Fitness, Wellbeing

Coming out of COVID?

The COVID-19 pandemic is worse than we could have imagined. The overcrowded hospitals, lives lost, and physical suffering humankind has endured over this pandemic is monumental. This illness has negatively affected all of us, even those who did not contract the...

Spring into a Growth Mindset
Business, Growth Mindset, Mindset, Personal

Spring into a Growth Mindset

Spring is a great time to awaken new and fresh ideas. Spring can be considered a time of reawakening as we watch the snow melt, the plants and flowers emerge from the soil, and the temperature gauge increase again. As the earth wakes up, feelings of inspiration,...

Which Type of Energizing Tea is Right for You?
Energy, Wellbeing

Which Type of Energizing Tea is Right for You?

If you are looking for an alternative to coffee, consider substituting tea into your morning routine. From caffeinated teas to herbal infusions, there are many options available for a quick pick-me-up. Not only will they provide a boost of energy, but they also...

What You Can Learn from JLo’s Discipline
Discipline, Growth

What You Can Learn from JLo’s Discipline

  She embodies beauty, grace, and agelessness. What is her secret? Jennifer Lopez (JLo) practices continuous and consistent discipline to look and feel her best, inside and out.  JLo’s attention to taking care of herself seems to increase alongside her...

How Portable Blenders Can Enhance Your Diet
Energy, Nutrition, Wellbeing

How Portable Blenders Can Enhance Your Diet

We live in a busy and fast-paced world, where many of us are always on the go. Finding time for a healthy balanced meal is not always easy amongst the demands of work, family life, and fitness. Lunchtime and in-between snacks will often go missed, putting stress on...

The Secrets to Boost Immunity this Spring
Energy, Wellbeing

The Secrets to Boost Immunity this Spring

Many of us are extra aware of our health these days. Supporting our bodies to fight infection and remain healthy is a top priority. Luckily, there are countless ways to boost the immune system that will help ward off viruses and improve our quality of life. After a...

From Belief to Reality
Mindset, Wellbeing

From Belief to Reality

Believing that something is true is kind of like the fairy dust Peter Pan uses to make him fly. First, he believes, then he thinks happy thoughts, and then he flies. Optimistic and hopeful beliefs can give us the courage to follow our dreams and bring our deepest...

The Secrets to a Healthy Lymphatic System
Energy, Wellbeing

The Secrets to a Healthy Lymphatic System

Numerous fads have surfaced in the wellness world revolving around detoxes and cleanses, most with minimal emphasis on lymphatic health. Many people know the importance of removing toxins from the body but still may not understand how the body expels them. The...

essential oils and medical flowers herbs
Energy, Wellbeing

The Best Essential Oils to Cope with the Pandemic

What is aromatherapy? Have you experimented with aromatherapy? Aromatics have been used for thousands of years to enhance physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Natural oils are extracted by steam distilling leaves, bark, roots, flowers, and other...

Morning Ritual
Energy, Selfcare

The Importance of Morning Rituals

Morning rituals are small but consistent habits that create more ease, flow, and energy throughout your day. They remind you of the important things such as being mindful, taking care of the body, practicing gratitude, and being present with loved ones. A morning...

Discipline, Growth

What you can learn from Tom Brady and Discipline

Tom Brady is a master at discipline. He is an excellent case study in using grit, determination, and hard work to get ahead in the sport he loves.  While he might be known as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) now, he wasn’t always the best athlete but applied...

Secrets to Higher-Quality Sleep
Mindcare, Sleep

Secrets to Higher-Quality Sleep

Sleep is such a crucial and essential part of life. In fact, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping. Quality and quantity play a considerable role in efficient sleep, which is why experts recommend 7-9 hours a night. When we prioritize sleep and lean into its...

Jump Story Mindset
Braincare, Mindcare

How Stress Can Strengthen the Immune System

Health experts tend to emphasize how harmful stress can be when it comes to emotional and physical well-being. Chronic stress or bad stress is induced by repeatedly facing stressors that leave you feeling cornered. It can have a negative impact on the mind and body...

Task management concept: simplify, eliminate, automate, delegate(Blog)
Business, Time Management

The Power of Prioritization

Are you working from task to task without giving much thought to your busy schedule? What are you busy doing? Are you spending time focused mainly on your highest priority goals? Prioritization is a difficult undertaking. If you’re not intentional, you could make...

How to Improve Time Management Skills - Scheduling
Business, Time Management

How to Improve Time Management Skills

  Research shows that a whopping 80% of new year's resolutions don't make it past February.It's the beginning of the year, and you're on a roll! You've replaced the ice cream in the freezer with mixed berries, and the 9 pm impulsive McDonalds run with protein...

Mindset, Minisodes, Personal

POSITIVE THINKING 101 Want to find out how you can cultivate positive emotions almost instantly (with practice)? Discover the answer on today’s video, a clip from episode 4 of The EnRichment Show (available as a video on YouTube and/or as a...

Episode 4 - Emotional Mastery – Part 2
Mindset Series, Personal, The EnRichment Show

Emotional Mastery – Part 2

Emotional mastery puts you in the driver’s seat of your life. Emotions play a significant role in our interpersonal relationships, careers, physical health, mental well-being and so much more. Discover the 10 keys to emotional mastery to help you gain control of...

Sign up for our newsletter!

Learn insider secrets

Get optimized success strategies straight to your inbox! Expert insight. Pragmatic solutions. Problems solved.

Pin It on Pinterest