10 Powerful Questions to Make Your Meetings More Effective


Meetings, and especially one-on-one meetings, have the habit of being ineffective. People talking about their weekends instead of the work at hand, doing most of the talking instead of actively listening to what is being sent, allowing interruptions, all add up to unproductive meetings.

As a manager, you more than anyone else, have to work to make meetings productive and effective, as you’ll be busy enough to then also manage people’s workloads and tricky scenarios where your employees aren’t pulling their weight.

When you’re faced with difficult situations, setting the expectations for your one-on-one meetings ahead of time, and asking powerful questions, are keys to making meetings more effective.


If you always drive the agenda then that will become the expectation. There’s always the risk you’ll miss something. Try setting the stage to your employees, by communicating the following:

“When we meet tomorrow, I want to explore with you whatever you feel most deserves our attention, so I will begin our conversation by asking, ‘What is the most important thing you and I should be talking about?’ I will rely on you to tell me.

If the thought of bringing up an issue makes you anxious, that’s a signal that you need to bring it up. I am not going to pre-empt your agenda with my own. If I need to talk with you about something else, I will tag it onto the end or plan another conversation with you.”


  1. What is an area that, if you made an improvement, would give you and others the greatest return on time, energy and money invested?
  2. What is currently impossible to do, that if it were possible, would change everything?
  3. What are you trying to make happen in the next three months?
  4. What is the most important decision you are facing in the next three months? What is stopping you from making it?
  5. What topic are you hoping I won’t bring up? Why is that?
  6. What area of your responsibility are you most satisfied with? Least satisfied with?
  7. What part of your responsibilities are you avoiding right now?
  8. What conversations are you avoiding right now?
  9. What do you wish you had more time to do?
  10. If you were competing against our company, what would you do?


If you want to learn more about being a leader in your organisation and how to drive the culture and strategy, read our free guide, The Four Cornerstones of Strategic Execution.

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