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How To Become A Meeting Rockstar

Written by: Peter Labrie, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Be a meeting Rockstar: Okay, you are running a meeting. How exciting! You want success — for everyone, including for yourself. First, you must determine the format of the meeting. There are four varieties.

Directed meeting

One person runs the meeting (let us call him the Manager). The Manager talks to his colleagues, asking questions. Usually, there is scant interaction between the participants. This is the most over-used and boring style of meeting. Yet, Directed Meetings are useful when managers need to address an issue, with no fuss. He informs.


Are meetings where someone (or a team) covers a specific topic. There’s no collaboration, aside from questions, usually at the end. Presentations are helpful. This said, make sure the speaker knows his stuff, has pertinent material, and keeps it lively.

Status reports

Are presentations, often with several experts. Again, there is no collaboration between participants. Use these reports to share information. Often you can accomplish the same goal with a note, newsletter, or blog. Don’t have meetings for the sake of having meetings!

Collaborative meetings

The Manager delegates topics to his colleagues. In turn, the colleagues present those topics to the entire group. This has three big benefits over the “Directed Meeting”. First, participants polish their presentation skills. Second, participants are more engaged. They want to play a role rather than listen to the manager's monologue. Third, the Manager learns from others, rather than preaching from a podium. This is a win-win.

It is easy to upgrade a Directed Meeting to a Collaborative Meeting. Collaboration is more lively, fun, and effective for everyone. This said, you need a few more tricks to be a Rockstar:

Becoming a meeting rockstar

Time: This is easy. Start on time, and end on time. Why? Because your colleagues have schedules. Respect those schedules by sticking to your own plan. And if you finish the meeting early, adjourn. That is a fantastic way to boost engagement.

Agenda: Explain the purpose of the meeting, the topics covered, and the duration of the meeting. Leave time for others to add topics to the agenda. The agenda explains who covers each topic (i.e., see collaborative meeting). Share the agenda before the meeting—and not at the last minute!

Sequence: Stick to the agenda. Item ‘A’ comes before item ‘B’ and so forth. Stick to the sequence. Yes, the meeting might take an unexpected direction. That is okay, provided participants accept this change. Resist the urge to explore detours unless everyone is on board to do so. Normally, added items go into new meetings, of work groups.

W3 = Who? What? When?

Explain who will execute action plans. What will they do? What is the deadline for completion? Most action plans have multiple steps, so you need clear milestones. Be explicit on desired outcomes. What does success look like? What are the key performance indicators?

Minutes: Keep minutes. Why? Minutes encapsulate agreements, assign responsibilities (for action steps), and fix deadlines for execution. Once the meeting is over, bang out the minutes within 24 hours. Be snappy.

What about focus groups, learning circles, and other liberating structures? Yes, they have different dynamics, but they all follow these core best practices.

This is simple, but not easy. The rewards of following these rules are immense. Start using these concepts immediately. Do not be boring. Rock!

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Peter Labrie, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Peter Labrie has abundant experience as CEO, team-leader, and investment banker. In fact, he has lived in seven countries, done projects all over the World, and learned from the brightest in many disciplines. After years in the corporate world, Peter struck off on his own to launch Art of Leadership Consulting. The goal: Build awesome leadership in organizations, teams and especially in people – everywhere. Peter is creating a 'Self Mastery' course for individuals and groups.



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