Effective Meetings: The Participant’s Responsibility


There is an epidemic running rampant through Corporate America. The disease is called “Ineffective Meetings.”  I’ve been researching the topic of how to have more effective meetings, but all my research has found the leader’s point of view on the topic. I want to discuss it from the participant’s point of view, with the understanding that the facilitator/leader of the meeting is doing all the things necessary to run an effective meeting. If you want more information on this check out Michael Hyatt’s post on the topic.

Do participants have a responsibility?

YES! Their #1 responsibility is to come prepared. You come prepared for the meeting by:

  1. Reading the agenda (and notes from previous meeting if it’s a reoccurring meeting) prior to the meeting
  2. Understanding why the meeting is taking place
  3. Following up on your action items if any
  4. If you have no action items, what are the issues that will be discussed at the meeting and what ideas can you contribute
  5. Taking notes (written or recorded)
  6. Reading notes after meeting and do any action items

If you are invited to a meeting, it’s because the facilitator believed you could add value to the discussion. Be confident that you can add value and do so!

Why is it important for a participant to participate?

Have you ever complained about how a particular person got promoted and you just knew they are an idiot? Or you knew how bad they treat people? I’ve had those complaints and questions. Then I started paying attention to those individuals (some of which have been fired). The one thing I noticed is in meetings, they were the ones talking and attempting to come up with ideas and solutions. Meanwhile, the individuals that I knew had better thoughts and suggestions sat in silence. Interestingly enough, those who sit in silence are often the ones complaining about how their careers seem to hit a wall.

John Maxwell has said it best: “Leaders want to lead other leaders not followers.” I’m finding this to be very true in my own life. I would rather work with someone who is trying to solve a problem and may not have the necessary background or skills for a position, than someone who is educated to solve the problem but needs to be moved to do so.

Your leaders want this as well. So ask yourself what you can bring to the table before the meeting and then BRING IT! You will soon have the reputation of a problem solver and a leader. Even if NONE of your ideas come to fruition, you are trying and your leaders will notice.