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7 Awesome Meeting Habits That Will Make You Money $

7 Awesome Meeting Habits That Will Make You Money $

Do your clients suffer because your team is wasting time in meetings?

Let’s face it, most of us deal with unproductive meetings everyday. You know the type of meetings I’m talking about:

  • When the executives talk more about golf than how to improve profitability
  • When you spend an hour figuring out which brand of gluten free hot dog to serve at the summer staff bar-b-q (I’ve actually suffered through that meeting)
  • When somebody leaves the meeting every 10 minutes to check their cell phone
  • Or how about when you spent 2 hours trying to come up with great new marketing ideas and you realized midway through that nobody in the room knew anything about marketing…

I could go on, but I can feel your meeting pain shooting through your eyeballs as you read this. I think we can agree that you can’t afford unproductive meetings. Why? Well, they cost too much money, waste valuable time and frustrate your staff (which could make them quit). Too much bad meeting behaviour affects your ability to serve you customers at a high level, and ultimately will cost you a lot of money.

But don’t despair! Here are 7 Awesome Meeting Habits That Will Make You Money $, based on my experience in running and attending more than 2000 meetings.

MH #1 – State Your Strategic Objective At The Beginning Of Your Meeting

Here’s what will happen when you clearly state your most important strategic objective at the beginning of a meeting:

  • It will set the tone for the meeting, and focus everyone’s attention on why you’re all there
  • If anyone says something unrelated you can ask “Is what you’re saying right now moving our strategic objective forward?”
  • At the end of the meeting, you can re-state the objective then and ask “Did this meeting move our strategic objective forward?” If the answer is yes, then it was a great meeting. If the answer is no, then you’ve got some work to do to make your next meeting more profitable.

For example, take a look at this Key Strategic Objective for Apple:

To ask less of the planet, we ask more of ourselves.

Now, let’s imagine the beginning of a new product development meeting at Apple. The facilitator could say “Throughout this meeting, let’s challenge ourselves to responsibly use Earth’s resources when we talk about developing this new product.” Then they could conduct their new product discussion, and at the end of the meeting the facilitator could restate the strategic objective and then ask, “Did our discussion honour our commitment to “ask less of the planet?”

If the answer was yes, then it was a profitable meeting that moved this Key Strategic Objective forward. If the answer was no, then that meeting team should have started to make adjustments to ensure that this key concept was reflected in their next product development meeting.

Meetings Are A Great Opportunity To Move Your Organization Strategy Forward

MH #2 – Figure Out The Total Cost Of All Of The Meetings That Happen In Your Organization And CUT The Money Losers

Here’s how:

  1. Do a complete inventory of all of your meetings
  2. Assign an average cost-per-meeting
  3. Determine your total meeting cost

Now give your CEO a kleenex to wipe the tears from their eyes when they realize how much money your organization is wasting on bad meetings…

Here are some cost-per-meeting examples:

#1: A company with 25,000 employees in which each employee attends 100 meetings per year (2 meetings per week) at an estimated cost of $500 per meeting.

  • Total meetings = 2,500,000
  • Estimated cost per meeting = $500
  • TOTAL MEETING COST PER YEAR = $1,250,000,000 (over 1 BILLION!)

#2: A medium sized business with 1000 employees in which each employee attends 50 meetings per year (1 meeting per week) at an estimated cost of $250 per meeting.

  • Total meetings = 50,000
  • Estimated cost per meeting = $250
  • TOTAL MEETING COST PER YEAR = $1,250,000 (over 1 MILLION!)

Can your organization afford to spend this much on meetings? Which of your meetings are the most profitable? How can you repeat the best habits from your most profitable meetings so you can make more money?

Now. Estimate what you would like your MROI to be (meeting-return-on-investment). Cut out any meetings that are not giving you a positive MROI. Then create a bonus program that encourages teams to continue to have more profitable meetings.

Once you understand your organization’s total meeting cost you can begin to invest and turn your meetings into a competitive advantage

MH #3 – Lock The Door When The Meeting Starts

Would you be late for a meeting with your best customer? No. So if you want your meetings to make you more money overall, then treat each person in the meeting like they were your best customer.

So if people are coming in late for meetings, here’s a suggestion.

If your meeting starts at 9AM, then lock the door at 9AM and don’t let the latecomers in.

I learned this technique when I interviewed Larry Schwenneker in episode 8 of the Create Awesome Meetings Podcast. Larry was a Senior Leader in charge of a 500 million dollar portfolio, and his time, like yours,  was precious. So, when he chaired a meeting he would lock the door at the appointed meeting start time, and anybody who was late wasn’t allowed in. One time, his boss was late and stood outside the room pounding on the door to be let in. And guess what happened? Larry didn’t let him in. Guess how often this happened? Once. Because after that, Larry’s boss would show up on time for meetings. And while it was fun to hear about how much trouble Larry got into for doing this, I also found out that Larry’s boss adopted this technique and started locking the door at his own meetings, to make sure that everyone was respectful of each other’s time.

How much more money would you make if every meeting in your organization started on time?

MH #4 – Fire A Bad Meeting Facilitator Right Now

Ineffective meetings are led by money-losing meeting leaders who:

  • Don’t care about the real cost of bringing people together
  • Don’t prepare an agenda
  • Allow talkers to take over meetings with unrelated blather
  • Don’t have the skills to respectfully manage fights during a meeting which breaks team trust and kills productivity.
  • Don’t follow up after meetings resulting in no accountability for anyone

So if this bad meeting leader is wasting your team’s time, how is that helping your customers?

Here’s what you can do to help/fire a bad meeting leader:

  • Rotate the chair, as in, assign someone else on your team to lead the next meeting. This will give the current meeting leader a chance to learn something new and hopefully they will improve
  • Immediately send the current leader for facilitation training so they can learn how to run more effective meetings
  • If they refuse to get training then you should remove the bad meeting facilitator from the meeting forever. This will allow that team to rebuild and move on, and give their meetings an opportunity to become more productive

Don’t assume that just because a person has a big title (CEO, President, Director, Manager) that they know how to effectively run a meeting

MH #5 – Place Unrelated Discussions In The ‘Parking Lot’

One of the best ways to respectfully keep people on track during a meeting is to set up a ‘parking lot’ for unrelated discussions. This is a place on the whiteboard or on the agenda itself where you can record good ideas (that are unrelated to the current meeting) so you can revisit them later.

For example, let’s say you were meeting with your team to review your budget. If somebody started to go off topic to enthusiastically talk about a new service that you could create, which is clearly unrelated to talking about the budget, then the facilitator could gently cut that person off and say something like,

“That is a terrific idea that you’re bringing up, and we would all love to hear more about it. So let’s put it in the ‘parking lot’ for now and then we can come back to it at a later time. And now, let’s get back to the budget discussion.”

When a facilitator does this with confidence, then not only does that person know that they have been heard and that their new idea will eventually be discussed, but everybody else in the meeting will feel that their time is being well used.

How much more money would your organization make if every one of your meetings stayed on track?

MH #6 – Ask People To Challenge Ideas During The Meeting

With the pace of change these days, status-quo meetings will lose you money. I have to admit that when I worked in the corporate world I often ‘mailed-it-in’ during useless weekly staff meetings. You know the type of meeting that I’m talking about, where it’s all about updates and people talking about what they did on the weekend, instead of actually making decisions that move the company forward and ultimately serve your customers.

So, to avoid status quo meetings, the facilitator should occasionally interject and say, “Can anyone disagree with or improve what we just talked about? Because if we can’t, why did this item get onto the agenda in the first place?” This will set a tone of high trust for the meeting and allow people to openly share their best insights.

If you aren’t asking your team to challenge ideas during your meetings then you’re leaving money on the floor

MH #7 – Treat Every Person In Your Meeting Like They Were Your Best Customer

Like I said earlier, if you’re not treating everyone in your meeting like they were your best customer, then you’re leaving money on the floor. So, at the beginning of your next meeting you should make a list of the ‘Top 5 Ways That We Treat Our Best Customers’. Here are a few suggestions to get your list started:

  • We don’t interrupt when the customer is talking, so why do we interrupt each other?
  • I don’t look at my cell phone when I’m with a customer, so why do I look at it during a meeting?
  • I follow up fast after every customer meeting, so why do I not follow up effectively after our meetings?
  • I have all the information my customers need when I speak with them, so why did I come to this team meeting unprepared?
  • I’m never late for a customer meeting, so why was I late for this meeting?

Imagine how much more profitable your company would be if every person in every meeting treated each other with the same high standard of service that you give to your best customers.

Awesome Meeting Habits Summary

  1. State your most important strategic objective out loud at the beginning of your meeting
  2. Figure out your organization’s total meeting cost and cut the money losing meetings
  3. Lock the door when the meeting starts
  4. Fire a bad meeting facilitator right now
  5. Place unrelated discussions in the ‘Parking Lot’
  6. Ask your team to challenge ideas during the meeting
  7. Treat every person in your meeting like they were your best customer


Now that you know what to do, your biggest challenge is implementation. To help you get the ball rolling here are few reasons that have inspired other teams to improve their meeting culture.

  • We want to earn more money by improving our MROI (meeting-return-on-investment)
  • We want to become more efficient by getting rid of money-sucking meetings
  • We want to make our organization workplace of choice for top talent and one of the best ways that we can do this is by demonstrating that we have the most efficient, innovative and enjoyable meetings

Are you ready to put at leas one of these habits into action to turn your meetings into a competitive advantage? Do you want to serve your customers at a higher level? Do you want your company to make more money?

Now it’s up to you…

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CAM 023: Why Taking Action Creates Awesome Meetings

CAM 023: Why Taking Action Creates Awesome Meetings

Welcome! Let’s look at why taking action creates awesome meetings starting now!

On a scale from 1-10 would you rate your meetings as -5? Do you know that you need to do something about this but you just can’t seem to get the ball rolling?

Would you like to learn how to get inspired and take action to make your next meeting amazing?

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Prosci Change Management – Certifiably Worthwhile!

Prosci Change Management – Certifiably Worthwhile!

As I continue to gain ‘quals’ (qualifications) as a Professional Meeting Facilitator and Consultant I sometimes wonder if I’m not certifiable myself – as in certifiably insane for spending time and money to re-learn the same best practices under newly packaged names. So before I enrolled in the

So before I enrolled in the 3-Day Prosci Change Management Certification Program, I was honestly suspicious. Why have a separate approach for the people side of a project?

Isn’t change the natural state of being in business these days? So any decent leader who can execute his organization’s strategy should have the people side of things covered. Right?

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CAM 020: How Following Up FAST Creates Awesome Meetings

CAM 020: How Following Up FAST Creates Awesome Meetings

Do you and your colleagues follow up after each meeting? If the answer is yes, congratulations. But if the answer is ‘sort of’, ‘not really’ or ‘no’, then you may be leaving money on the floor.

Consistent meeting follow-up is rare, but if you learn how to follow up effectively you can literally improve the bottom line for any organization you work or volunteer for.

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CAM 017: How To Create An Awesome Meeting Space – Part 2

CAM 017: How To Create An Awesome Meeting Space – Part 2

Are you in a job where you have meetings that are not in rooms? Like on a construction site or at a Nursing station?

Do you ever have to meet off-site, away from the office in places like hotels or convention centres?

Would you like some practical tips and inspiration that will help you turn these unique spaces into meeting productivity opportunities? Well, you’re in the right place because episode 17 of the Create Awesome Meetings is all about optimizing meetings that are not in traditional rooms.

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CAM 016: How To Create An Awesome Meeting Space – Part 1

CAM 016: How To Create An Awesome Meeting Space – Part 1

What does your meeting space look like? Are the tables sticky? Are there broken chairs and old papers lying around?

Does your meeting room make you want to run away screaming?

I believe that where you meet is as important as what you’re meeting about.

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CAM 003: How To Facilitate Awesome Meetings

CAM 003: How To Facilitate Awesome Meetings

Are you someone who has to run meetings but doesn’t know where to begin? Or are you someone who wishes they could run the meeting because the guy who is running the meeting is useless? Or maybe you’re just starting your meeting facilitation journey and you’re looking for ideas.

Well if any of these scenarios make sense to you, then you’re in the right place! Because episode 3 of the Create Awesome Meetings Podcast offers a step-by-step guide to help you run an outstanding meeting. Every time. And are the 15 steps:

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How Emerging Health Leaders Make Edmonton Awesome!

How Emerging Health Leaders Make Edmonton Awesome!

Why I Support Emerging Health Leaders Edmonton


When my colleagues Kim Poong and Karmin Hovde asked me to be a Speaker at the Emerging Health Leaders Edmonton (EHLE) PechaKucha Night, guess how long it took me to say yes? Less than a second! And please let me tell you why.

Kim and Karmin are super smart, competent, accomplished leaders who I got to know when I did my MBA at the University of Alberta School of Business. And I knew that if they had chosen to be a part of the Emerging Health Leaders Edmonton group that all of the other participants would be cut from the same high-calibre cloth. And that is exactly what I discovered when I got to attend and speak at their 1st PechaKucha event.

Another great reason to support EHLE is because of their vision, which is to:

Inspire growth and leadership with a lasting impact on the ever-dynamic field of health within the Edmonton community.

With those two major factors in mind I knew it was going to be a great night.

What I Experienced At The EHLE PechaKucha Night

According to, “PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.” That’s 6 minutes and :40 seconds of your life that you’re never going to get back, whether you’re giving the talk or you’re in the audience. And as a Speaker I can tell you that this format is very challenging because you have to be succinct and well prepared. Thankfully, all of the Speakers knocked it out of the park that night. Check out this awesome line up that the EHLE organizers put together.

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Marni Panas shared her triumphant personal story about the the ups and downs of being authentic with her talk called “Live Your Truth And Turn Barriers Into Opportunity”

Chris Tse taught us all how to “Build A Health Movement One Tribe At A Time.”

David Pincock blew our minds as he introduced us into the world of Clinical Informatics in his talk called “Clinicians Tinkering With Computers”

Pamela Spurvey shared her very real story about “The Value In ‘Been there, done that” (you can learn more about Pamela in this great article titled “What Success Looks Like” in WE Magazine by the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region)

Marc Yu brought down the house with laughter as he explained “What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us About The Intersection Of Law, Medicine And Professionalism”

And finally Marlies van Dijk boldly showed us the new reality of change management with her talk called “Heart, Mind & Bravery”

And I can honestly say that I did not expect to be so inspired! But all of these high-impact Speakers made me laugh and gain new perspectives, and for that I am really glad I was there.

10 Ways To Create Awesome Meetings

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I also enjoyed Speaking at the event. My talk was called “10 Ways To Create Awesome Meetings.” It is based on the following checklist:

  1. Get Real With Yourself
  2. Get Real With Your Team
  3. Know Your Total Meeting Cost $
  4. Get A Great Facilitator
  5. Link The Meeting To Your Strategy
  6. Create A Blockbuster A-G-E-N-D-A
  7. Meet In The Right Space
  8. Get Awesome Resources
  9. Follow-Up F-A-S-T
  10. Take Action!

Here is a full audio recording of my presentation if you’d like to listen to it, and if you’d like to receive a more detailed version of the checklist, please enter your name and email below.


Why You Should Attend The Next EHLE Event


If you are a seasoned and emerging leader. Or maybe you want to be inspired. Or maybe you’d simply like to meet some of the most effective people in Edmonton, then I would suggest that you attend the next event that Emerging Health Leaders Edmonton puts on (here’s the events link so you can check it out – And here are a few examples of some of the great events they have already put on this year!

  • An evening with Helen Bevan – Chief Transformation Officer, National Health Services (NHS)
  • A PechaKucha Speakers night that was unforgettable
  • Socials – for example in September they held a ‘Mini-Olympics consisting of virtual golf, Sega Super GT: Auto Racing, Pro Putt and 3-ball pool.’

So not only are the Emerging Health Leaders in Edmonton smart, but they also like to have a lot of fun!

Changing The World, One Meeting At A Time

And with the same passion that EHLE is committed to inspiring growth and leadership, I am dedicated to ‘changing the world, one meeting at time.’ So at the end of my PechaKucha talk I asked this group of professionals to make a commitment and here’s what happened.

How To Become An Awesome Meeting Facilitator

How To Become An Awesome Meeting Facilitator

How much will your next meeting cost? $1,000/hour? $5,000/hour? Does your current meeting facilitator or leader help your company make more money by effectively facilitating profitable meetings? Or do they have a style that kills productivity and morale?

When I work as a Professional Meeting Facilitator I turn mediocre meetings into energized, focused and profitable experiences for everyone involved. So in order to pass along everything I know about how to facilitate an awesome meeting, I have put together the following list of suggestions.

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