Skip to main content


5 Things to Make Meetings Less Boring and More Effective

Create a habit of using the five minutes before meetings to make the most out of the next 15, 30, or 60 minutes of your work life.

By Robin Camarote, Inc. (TNS)

Despite our best intentions to prepare, most of us start thinking about the next meeting when the reminder goes off or right as we’re joining, either virtually or in person. Most executives are booked back-to-back, leaving little time to think and set their intentions for what they want out of the next conversation.

If you did prepare (even just a few minutes makes a difference), you’d see the immediate benefits of looking prepared, sounding smart, getting what you want, and moving the conversation forward.

Meetings get a bad rap because most of us show up cold.

Create a habit of using the five minutes before meetings to make the most out of the next 15, 30, or 60 minutes of your work life.

5 minutes to go

Review the agenda, if provided. If not, review notes from the last call. Don’t have either? That’s not uncommon, but just jog your memory on why this meeting was called to begin with. Make sure you are clear about the purpose before you join, so you don’t have to ask the other participants.

4 minutes to go

Decide what you need to know, need to share, and want to leave with. Jot a short list for yourself of any key pieces of information you’ll need to make a decision. Plan to share any data, observations, or insights that constructively contribute to shaping the conversation. And think about what you want. Do you want a decision? Do you want to delegate something? Do you want a status update? Given that, what exactly will you take away? This always includes an agreement among participants on 1) the next steps for the project or issue at hand, and 2) immediate next actions for everyone on the call. If someone isn’t given any actions, they don’t need to participate in future conversations.

3 minutes to go

Get grounded and clear your head. Recognize lingering thoughts or feelings from your last meeting. Can you set them aside for the next time block? Bringing baggage from one conversation to the next creates drag in your day. Give each topic a fair starting point.

2 minutes to go

Review the attendees, and notice who’ll be there and anyone who’s declined. Don’t waste time waiting on people who aren’t planning to show. If there is anyone you don’t know, plan to introduce yourself right away and ask a few opening questions to start establishing a relationship.

1 minute to go

Dial/walk in and get seated. Adjust your chair, lighting, camera, etc., to ensure you feel comfortable and ready to fully participate.

What you do immediately before your next meeting can mean the difference between an average conversation and a productive, engaging one. Making sure you’re ready, that you know what you want, and can show up as your best self makes a big difference, and it will have a cascading effect throughout the organization.

You got this!


Robin Camarote is a leadership development trainer, executive coach, and speaker helping executive leadership teams increase employee engagement, reduce turnover, and make their companies a great place to work.


(c) 2023 Mansueto Ventures LLC; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.