12.5 Conclusion

Reflection Activity

Returning to Naiomi’s story from the beginning of this chapter, what are some ways Naiomi can advocate to make the meetings more effective at her workplace? Is it possible to review the meetings scheduled and see if there are alternative ways to meet the goals of the group other than meeting?  How can she make sure she organizes her time effectively in order to meet her deadlines and complete required tasks?


  1. Think of a problem at your college that you and some of your fellow students feel needs to be addressed. Imagine that you’ve been told you have two weeks to present a proposal to the president of the college for remedying the problem. Draft an agenda for as many meetings as you feel would be necessary to involve the proper people in confronting the problem. Describe how the meetings would take place, including what rules you would follow, who would be invited, and what specific items would be dealt with in what sequence.
  2. What do you consider to be the pros and cons of limiting the number of people invited to a group meeting?
  3. Reread the description of Bonnie’s abilities in 12.2 and rank them in order of importance, then list which your feel are absolutely essential to successful leadership of meetings.
  4. Which instances of “Perils of Poor Facilitation”  from 12.2 have you experienced in group meetings? Describe two or three such instances. What action might the group leader have taken to prevent or resolve the episodes?
  5. Some cultures value exact punctuality differently from others. If you were leading a series of meetings comprising members of several cultural groups, what steps, if any, would you take to accommodate or modify people’s habits and expectations concerning the starting and ending times of the meetings?
  6. Imagine that you’re the new chairperson of a group which got seriously off track in the first of its meetings that you presided over. You tried gently redirecting people to discuss pertinent issues, but they first ignored and then resisted your attempts. What steps might you take to address the situation?

Additional Resources

A look at companies that hold unique meetings: We’ve Got to Start Meeting Like This

Silberman, M. (1999). 101 ways to make your meetings active. Jossey-Bass.
Provides fun activities and exercises to help prepare people to conduct meetings effectively.

Streibel, B.J. (2003). The manager’s guide to effective meetings. McGraw-Hill.
Includes advice on conducting virtual meetings, as well as useful examples and checklists related to meeting management.

Bens, I. (2016). Facilitation at a Glance. Goal/QPC.
A wonderful pocket guide to facilitation, filled with tools and techniques useful to both novice and advanced facilitators. Great set of tools for problem solving.

Lind, L. and Kaner, S. (2014). Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. Jossey-Bass.
An excellent resource for ideas on facilitation, with a focus on decision-making tools and techniques. The book includes excellent illustrations, which can be reproduced to help explain facilitation concepts to others.

Other Meeting Design and Facilitation Resources

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF)

The IAF promotes, supports and advances the art and practice of professional facilitation through methods exchange, professional growth, practical research, collegial networking and support services.

Interaction Associates

Interaction Associates is the creator and distributor of the Mastering Meetings: Tools for Collaborative Action and Essential Facilitation classes which MIT is licensed to teach. The Tips and Techniques section at their Web site is particularly useful.


Formative assessment – takes place during an activity and allows people to modify their behaviour in response to its results.

Institutional memory – the foundation for future members to build upon, a collection of information and documentation.

Motion – a formal proposal put forth orally by a participant in the meeting.

Summative assessment – implemented at the end of an activity.

Quorum – the minimum number of people needed to conduct the business of the group.

Chapter References

Amos, J. (2002). Making meetings work (2nd ed.). Howtobooks.

Attwood, J. (2012, 14 February). Meetings: Where work goes to die. Coding Horror. https://blog.codinghorror.com/meetings-where-work-goes-to-die/

Babauto, L. (2007, June 6). Kill meetings to get more done. Lifehack. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/kill-meetings-to-get-more-done.html.

Barge, J.K. (1991, November). Task skills and competence in group leadership. Paper presented at the meeting of the Speech Communication Association, Atlanta, GA.

Deutschman, A. (2004, August 1). Inside the mind of Jeff Bezos. FastCompany. https://www.fastcompany.com/50106/inside-mind-jeff-bezos-5.

Doyle, M. & Straus, D. (1993). How to make meetings work: The new interaction method. Jove Books.

Grossman, J. (1998, April). We’ve got to start meeting like this. Inc. https://www.inc.com/magazine/19980401/907.html

Lumsden, G., & Lumsden, D. (2004). Communicating in groups and teams: Sharing leadership (4th ed.). Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.

Luong, A. & Rogelberg, S.G. (2005). Meetings and more meetings: The relationship between meeting load and the daily well-being of employees. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 9(1), 58–67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1089-2699.9.1.58

MindTools Content Team. (n.d.). Eisenhower’s urgent/important principle”. MindTools.https://www.mindtools.com/al1e0k5/eisenhowers-urgentimportant-principle.

Parker, G. & Hoffman, R. (2006). Meeting excellence: 33 tools to lead meetings that get results. Jossey-Bass.

Robert, H.M., Evans, W.J., Honemann, D.H., & Balch, T. J. (2011). Robert’s rules of order newly revised, in brief. Da Capo Press.

12.5 Summary” from An Introduction to Group Communication by Phil Venditti and Scott McLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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