3 Tips for Planning Effective Meetings: The Popcorn Case Study

Ana Zaldarriaga
Ana Zaldarriaga
business conference table - 3d rendering

It’s Popcorn Time again at our company! We are having our final companywide meeting for the year and we are trying to make sure we have time for everything we need on our agenda. The key word here is need. As all of us are anticipating the agenda for next week, I asked our President Christine Courtney, “How do you balance the agenda?” As our leader, she is responsible for setting the tone of our company meetings and for ensuring that she hits the target for effectiveness:  meeting the logistic and emotional fundamental needs of her employees.

Here are the 3 essential questions she uses to set an agenda:

  1. Look at what is most important right now?

Is it information, inspiration, a time to come together, or a reality check? Is it to discuss where we are at, share burdens and solutions and understand decisions?  Is it to ignite leadership? For example, in our last company meeting, we had a huge programming update despite being in one of the busiest times of the year because the inspiration and power of knowing the work that had already been accomplished would give everyone more energy and fuel them to get to the finish line.

  1. Is there enough variety throughout the day?

The balance of an agenda is also about making sure that the various parts of the day are being facilitated by different speakers or presented through different formats to engage everyone. For example, if the day is heavy on financial updates and budget talks, then schedule a shift in focus by having a section on marketing or social media. If you have been in a lecture or presentation format for one section, make sure that the following section has some movement and group work. It is also about looking at your employees and finding new opportunities to share each other’s strengths and talents, as well as discover more about each other.

  1. How can everyone feel a sense of connectedness?

Company meetings can be long, drawn out and simply overwhelming with the amount of information that is shared. It is important for everyone to walk away with a sense of purpose from the day, so they can synthesize all the information and each give it meaning to their work. Always end with some reflection and appreciation in the end as a reminder of what was just experienced and how everyone’s contributions are valued.

If you ask these 3 questions, it will help you set an agenda that delivers the exact balance of what your team needs to keep on moving forward in the right direction.


Do you have any great tips on how to plan the timing of your company meetings? Share them with us!



"3 Tips for Planning Effective Meetings: The Popcorn Case Study", The Leadership Program, Inc. 2016


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Ana Zaldarriaga

By Ana Zaldarriaga

Ana Zaldarriaga Pronouns: she/her/hers Sr. Dir. of Employee Development The Leadership Program 535 8th Avenue, Floor 16 New York City, NY 10018 Phone: 212.625.8001 Fax: 212.625.8020 tlpnyc.com “…building strong leaders in classrooms and communities."