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How to Hold More Effective Meetings with Kate De Jong

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

I know I’m not alone in feeling like meetings are often a necessary evil. I’ve worked in many organizations where they overtook my schedule and sometimes felt like a waste of time.

If you can relate, you’re going to LOVE this week’s episode where I discuss the meeting audit and revamp Kate De Jong undertook as the VP of Employee Experience at Red Door Interactive. If you’ve ever thought your meetings could use a refresh, it’s an absolute must must-listen.

Kate de Jong, effective meeting expert

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Why Kate and her team decided to undertake a meetings audit - and what signs you should look for in your own organization.

  • The step you absolutely CANNOT skip when revamping meeting structures.

  • How to roll out the change, including practical advice on making sure the change sticks.

  • What meeting structures they decided to roll out and what they learned along the way.

  • The small microchange you can make today that will have a significant and immediate impact on your team.

Connect with Kate De Jong

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How to make your meetings more effective

Let's dive into the fascinating journey of Red Door, a creative marketing company, as they embarked on a mission to transform their meetings from mundane time-wasters to dynamic and purposeful gatherings. The team at Red Door realized that their status quo was far from ideal, with recurring meetings becoming monotonous and lacking active participation. Fueled by a desire for increased efficiency and collaboration, they set out to reinvent their meeting culture with fresh ideas, accountability, and a sprinkle of tech-savviness.

The Drive to Improve Meetings

As a former project manager, and the organizer of numerous meetings, the need to improve meeting efficiency became evident to the Red Door team. They faced several challenges with recurring meetings becoming monotonous and attendees losing interest. Plus lack of preparation and inviting unnecessary participants added to the problems.

Even project managers voiced their frustrations with unproductive status meetings. They saw the need for change in how meetings were conducted, and Kate sought feedback from all corners of the organization to understand the true pain points.

Gathering Feedback and Crafting Solutions

Recognizing the need for change, Red Door embraced a culture of process improvement and solicited feedback from various stakeholders, including participants, presenters, and deliverable creators. This collaborative approach allowed them to gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and devise solutions that catered to everyone's needs.

Implementing the meeting culture overhaul was met with enthusiasm as the pain points were evident to everyone. Red Door conducted company-wide training, ensuring everyone understood the new approach and expectations. They used technology to streamline the process, incorporating the meeting template into Outlook for easy access.

Embracing Purposeful Meetings

With valuable feedback in hand, Red Door devised a simple yet powerful meeting template. Every meeting organizer was required to use this template, which outlined the meeting's purpose, desired outcomes, agenda, and logistics. This straightforward framework allowed everyone to know what was on the agenda and what was expected from their participation, promoting a more engaging and purpose-driven approach.

The template was mandatory for all meeting invites in Outlook, encouraging organizers to define the meeting's objectives and agenda early and clearly. This forced attendees to be better prepared and helped set the right expectations.


With a clearer agenda in hand and specific outcomes, it was easier for people to see when they were just not needed at a meeting.

Calendar Etiquette and No Meeting Fridays

To further promote productivity, Red Door established calendar norms and introduced "No Meeting Fridays." This allowed employees to concentrate fully on their work one day a week, while the other days were reserved for necessary meetings.

Diverse Meeting Types for Different Goals

Recognizing that one-size-fits-all "updates" meetings are rarely effective, Red Door identified various meeting types tailored to specific objectives.

  • They had the RDI Workflow Meetings, ideal for updating and aligning teams on projects and clients' needs.

  • Daily Scrums and Huddles provided quick updates and issue resolution.

  • Ownership Thinking or Performance Scoreboard meetings offered transparency on financial performance and improvement discussions.

Owning Accountability

At Red Door, accountability was the name of the game for both meeting organizers and participants. Organizers had the critical role of creating clear agendas, sharing necessary materials beforehand, and summarizing key decisions and action items. On the other hand, participants were expected to come prepared, actively listen, and avoid the dreaded multitasking trap. This shared responsibility ensured that meetings were more efficient and impactful.

Red Door encouraged peer-to-peer accountability, where attendees held each other responsible for adhering to meeting expectations. Additionally, managers played a supportive role in addressing any challenges and reinforcing positive meeting practices.

Riding the Wave of Asynchronous Communication

Red Door embraced the power of asynchronous communication, leveraging tools to keep work moving between meetings. They adopted dashboards and transcriptions to provide easily accessible information without requiring everyone to be physically present in live meetings. Team members can now stay updated and engaged in their own time.

The Journey of Continuous Improvement

Knowing that meeting culture needs to evolve with time, Red Door made the commitment to continuous improvement and it shows. They regularly evaluate meeting types, schedules, and participant needs, adjusting whenever necessary.

The remarkable journey of Red Door's meeting revolution showcases the transformative power of purposeful meetings, accountability, and asynchronous communication. By incorporating these strategies and maintaining a willingness to adapt, businesses can harness the true potential of their meetings and foster a more engaged and productive work environment.

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