Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

How to Have Better Meetings

I just ran across a fantastic post on Mitch Joel’s blog that I felt was too good not to pass along. If you would like several truly excellent ideas on how to improve your meetings than you really need to read this: 15 Ways to Have a Better Meeting AND be sure to read all of the comments – there are several more excellent ideas for improving your meetings among the many comments!!!

And, if you would like to read a great book to help you better understand how social media will impact your life and your business, Mitch’s Six Pixels of Separation would be in my top five.

I also wanted to share a short video I just put together for  my very good friends at, an international consulting and coaching firm of Business Execution Experts. I can tell you with 100% confidence that one of the absolute greatestes challenges most compnaies face today is Effective Execution! They know WHAT to do — they just can’t seem to figure HOW to get thier entire team engaged and focused with discipline, cadence and an ownership mentality.

Well, that is exactly what the folks at specialize in, and I am extremely proud that they are using my book “Awesomely Simple” as one of their key references for assisting thier clients (along with Jim Collins’ Good to Great and other superb books) in taking sound business strategies and turning them into positve action in thier organizations. However, the terminalogy I use in my book around Vision, Mission and Values is slightly different than that used by – so I put together this short video to help their clients (and you) get a very clear handle on what these concepts really mean.  I hope you find this of value… – Core Purpose, Vision, Core Values BHAG from John Spence on Vimeo.


  1. John,

    I read Mitch’s post but I don’t fully agree with it.

    As a corporate trainer who runs day-long meetings, I used to fret about people being on their devices during the session, and I would make a big deal out of asking them to close them at the beginning of training. After reflecting on the problem, though, I realized that I was selfishly looking more after my own interests than to those of the audience members.

    Look at the problem through the eyes of the meeting participants: Most people are not deliberately intending to be rude or distracting. How many times have you been in meetings where the subject matter was irrelevant or the speaker took too long to get to the point or spent most of the meeting reading slides that could have just as easily been sent in lieu of bringing people together?

    Additionally, there are times or topics in the meeting that don’t require your input, but you still have to be physically present for the rest. With all the time pressure people are under nowadays, a little perceived rudeness is a small price to pay for getting stuff done.

    The mind can’t help paying attention to what is most compelling or relevant at the time. I now take it as a personal challenge to make sure that I am interesting, engaging and relevant enough that they won’t pay attention to anything else. The angle of the laptop screen or Blackberry is useful feedback to how well I am connecting with what’s important to the audience. It’s kind of like my own personal real-time Nielsen rating to who’s tuned in.

    I’m happy to say it’s made me a better trainer and helped me improve my material. I would ask all meeting organizers to consider putting this at the top of their list.

  2. Hey John – many thanks for the very kind words.

    Hey Jack – I appreciate your additional insights. The core of my Blog post was not about events, conferences or training meetings, but rather everyday office meetings where team members get together. In that context, I think it’s important for the teams to decide whether or not mobile devices make sense to the meeting (or not). My main point is that you shouldn’t have people in the meeting who have no need to be there (break it up into other, smaller meetings). So, if you’re booked in a meeting for the right reasons – make it count by staying focused.

  3. John – I enjoyed your video on Core Purpose. I agree, Leaders really need to spend more time first making sure they are clear on the Mission (Core Purpose), that the vision and core values are clear, and giving people something to rally around. Communicating these messages needs to be an ongoing agenda, not just in the words said and written, but also the actions (walk the talk) leaders and their senior leadership team exercise every day.

    Employees see right through a facade of leaders who aren’t really in the game, they’re just sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else trying to move the ball.

    Making sure that their organizations managers and leaders hire talent that will live the mission, vision, core values is also a crucial step in taking organizations to that next level.


  1. […] recently posted a blog on “How to Have Better Meetings,” which was actually a link to a fantastic article on Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of […]