Big Idea: Meetings

Mar 12, 2019

Group of teachers meeting

Meetings are a necessary element for keeping an organization informed, maintaining order and moving in the same direction. The more complex the organization, the higher the need for meetings. Yet, there may not be a more despised word in organizations. The lore of terrible and time wasting meetings is the fodder for cartoons and TV comedies. The disdain for meetings is so pervasive that the term “meeting hell” is common vocabulary across organizations.

The challenges of “Reduce meeting time” or “Improve meetings” are an excellent opportunity to ask questions about, and explore your organizations culture around meetings. A deep dive starting with a series of “why” questions may uncover opportunities to develop a more healthy meeting culture, save time and become more productive. Often we assume that things need to be a certain way, but if we take a different perspective, we find solutions that make our lives better.


Big Idea: Meetings
Essential Question: How can we improve our meetings?
Challenge:  Improve our meetings!

Sample Guiding Questions

These are only example questions we encourage you to ask as many personal and contextual questions as possible.

  1. Why are we meeting?
  2. Why do we meet when we meet?
  3. Do we really need to meet?
  4. Can the meeting information be dispersed in a different way?
  5. What is the structure of the meeting?
  6. Is there a more efficient way to meet?
  7. Does everyone understand the purpose of the meeting?
  8. Are there clear goals?
  9. Is there a clear organizational structure?
  10. Is there a shared understanding of meeting norms?
  11. Does everyone know their roles and responsibilities?
  12. What are the best practices for meetings?
  13. Research says?
  14. Etc.

*Once you brainstorm all of the questions organize and prioritize them.


Guiding Activities and Resources
These are only a set of example activities and resources and the learners will need to evaluate the quality of the content. They are not verified or necessarily supported, just examples. The ones that you choose should be in direct relationship to your specific guiding questions and context. Activities and resources for adults, adolescents, and younger children will be different. The goal is to develop solutions that mean something in your community and are sustainable.

Example Activities

  1. Survey meeting attendees to collect the general thoughs about meetings.
  2. Do a meeting schedule audit to identify how many meetings are scheduled each month, the people involved and the time spent.
  3. Do a meeting content/agenda audit to see what information can be dispersed in different or asynchronously.
  4. Review the research on best meeting practices.
  5. Etc.

Example Resources

  1. The Science and Fiction of Meetings
  2. The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings
  3. This Is the Perfect Number of People to Have in a Meeting, According to Stanford Research
  4. 3 Research-backed Tactics to Have More Effective Meetings
  5. The Curse of Meetings
  6. Etc.


Using the research findings from your Investigations develop a synthesis that demonstrates a clear understanding of the challenge. For help with creating a synthesis explore this resource.

Solution Prototypes – Using your research synthesis create multiple ideas for solutions and review each one to make sure your research supports it. Share the prototypes with various stakeholders and get feedback.

Solution – with the feedback from the stakeholders develop one solution that has the most potential for success.


Implement – Develop a plan to implement the solution with the stakeholders and collect data about the impact.

Evaluate – Using quantitative and qualitative measures determine if the solution is valid and what can be improved.


Throughout the experience take time to document the events and reflect on what is happening to build on prior knowledge and identify future questions.

Share what you learned with your local community and the world. Use #CBLWorld on social media.