Effective Meetings

Identifying Red Flags

The passage of 2020 has left us with many lessons learned and new practices when it comes to the work environment. We have realized that we can work remotely with high efficiency, that we don’t need to travel to meet and make decisions or synchronize ideas and ways of working to achieve an ambitious project. It broadened our perspective in that sense, but it also brought us an absolute dependence on virtual meeting platforms and the habit of generating meetings of many people, all the time.

Here’s a reflection related to this, to the importance of having effective meetings with some tips for them.

In the professional environment, meetings are essential for communication, teamwork and to achieve the goals proposed by the organization. However, sometimes there may be warning signs that indicate problems in working relationships. These signs can lead to damaged bonds and interfere with performance and collaboration. Knowing how to conduct effective meetings can be a powerful tool for identifying and addressing these red flags, as well as repairing damaged working relationships.


Some of the most common signs:

  • Systematic absence of some people from meetings: Before determining if this is a red flag verify if it is necessary for that person/s to be at the meeting.
  • Lack of effective communication: If meetings lack active participation, important topics are avoided, or there is a lack of transparency, it is a red flag.
  • Lack of confidence and collaboration: if there is mutual distrust, lack of support or unfair competition between colleagues, the working relationship is compromised.
  • Lack of commitment and accountability: if one or both parties do not fulfill their commitments, there are constant delays or lack of interest in the team’s objectives, the working bond is weakened.
  • Constant hostility and conflicts: If meetings are only used to discuss and express unsolvable disagreements or persistent tensions, it is a major warning sign.


Rethink meetings:

It is important that, at the moment of convening a meeting we can make sure that the people invited are really the ones needed to work, analyze the topic and collaborate in the definition / execution of next steps. When you have this reviewed, it is essential to communicate it to the guests, clarifying their role and, as far as possible, assigning topics and people in charge so that the meeting is as productive as possible. At the end of the meeting, it is important to prepare clear briefs that facilitate the execution, where we can clearly see the agreements reached, the pending issues and those responsible for them, in order to be able to make the appropriate follow-up. The fact that we can meet virtually and be “more accessible” does not mean that we should always have a schedule full of meetings, nor that the way to communicate and resolve issues is only that way.


Some keys:

  1. Generate a space for open communication, that meetings provide a structured environment where issues and concerns can be addressed in a safe and constructive manner.
  2. Foster mutual understanding, by actively listening to colleagues during meetings, you can better understand their perspectives and find common ground.
  3. Identify and solve problems, that the meetings allow you to analyze the underlying causes of problems and work together to find effective solutions
  4. Establish clear goals and agreements to improve collaboration and performance.
  5. Have a clear schedule, define the topics to be discussed and the objectives of the meeting in advance to maintain focus and efficiency, as well as who is responsible for them.
  6. Encourage active participation: encourage all participants to share their ideas, concerns and suggestions during the meeting. This point is particularly sensitive in hybrid meetings where the proximity bias plays a trick on us, and we end up having a “parallel meeting” with those who are physically present.
  7. Generate an environment of confidence: promote honesty and mutual respect, creating a safe space where issues can be addressed without fear of retaliation.
  8. Follow up on agreements and commitments: document the results and agreements reached during the meeting, as well as establish clear deadlines and responsibilities. Keeping a record of these agreements will allow effective follow-up and ensure that they are gone through in the future.


It is worth considering some additional practices:

  • Standing meetings: dedicated only to meetings that are informative, favoring them to be brief, assertive and with high concentration power.
  • Meetings in movement: taking advantage of walking, ideally in open spaces, as a stimulus to the creative process and to the analysis of complex situations.

And finally, before closing this reflection space, it is worth considering: is this meeting really necessary? Sometimes it seems to be the easiest channel to reach people to share information or update results, but experience shows us that using it for that purpose may be the least efficient way to connect with teams.

Keep in mind, meetings are the “moment of truth” with our people. The moment where it crystallizes how much their opinion matters to us, how much we value their perspective in analyzing the scenario and how much we are willing to co-create the future with them.