In episode 15 of “Can I Ask You One Question?”, I ask Steven Rogelberg, PH.D., author of The Surprising Science of Meetings, to share a few ways to make your meetings more productive and engaging (based on science of course).

Below are the key points from the interview. Scroll down to see the entire interview.

1. Frame agenda topics as questions

Start with an agenda, but instead of a set of topics to be discussed, organize the agenda as a set of questions to be answered.

By framing agenda items as questions, you create an engaging challenge for attendees that draws them in.

What does it mean if you can’t come up with any questions? You probably don’t need a meeting!

2. Be creative

Steven gave the example of silent brainstorming sessions where people communicate via writing. This way, everyone can talk at once and people don’t have to wait for their turn.

In studies, silent brainstorming groups yielded nearly twice as many ideas, and those ideas tended to be more creative.

“There are a hundred million meeting around the globe, and they almost all look exactly the same.”

3. Pick the times for the meetings intentionally

There is no magic time to have a meeting, but keep meetings short if possible.

“You tend to get more energy and engagement when a meeting is tight by design.”

Avoid defaulting to the hour long meeting unless it’s truly needed.

Actually, dialing the meeting time back a bit creates some pressure, and science shows that groups operating under some level of pressure perform more optimally given increased focus and urgency.


In a surprising and unexpected turn of events, Steven threw our production team (me) into a frenzy when he offered a bonus tip!! For the first time ever, he shares the VERY BEST WAY to make your meetings better! (Ok, I made up the first time ever part). Watch the video to hear what he says.

 Watch the interview below:


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