4 small meeting changes that make a big difference.







and decide if the sentences below are

True or False:

1. The author of the article was bewildered to learn that Gary Vaynerchuk’s no-nonsense business approach applied to meetings as well.

2. Meetings cost organizations a large amount of money, and the author doesn’t consider that it is worth it.

3. According to the author, doing reporting before a given meeting is nothing but a time-saver.

4. Use such work management tools like Asana or ClickUp unless you want something to be overlooked.

5. An agenda won’t be effective provided everyone ‘s given thought to it.

6. A meeting is sure to get sidetracked once a moderator has been assigned.

Key: 1F; 2T; 3T; 4T; 5F; 6F




  • blunt – being straight to the point; direct; abrupt in speech or manner
  • brash – showing too much confidence and too little respect
  • to fall through the cracks – to not be noticed or dealt with
  • to glaze over (of eyes) to become dull and lose all expression, usually because you are bored or are thinking about something else
  • to devolve into – to change from one thing to another, often to something bad
  • to yield – to supply or produce something positive
  • feasible – capable of being done or carried out


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the gaps in the article with the words in bold below:

exceeded        toying             supportive       cope with                   hinges on

            efficient           boost         eradicate          translated             distract                enhance

The Secret of Better Meetings: Fun

In today’s competitive global economy where corporate success 1. ………….. productivity and innovation, many companies are 2. ………… with alternative means for motivating employees.  From onsite pool tables and ball pits to free haircuts and subsidized massages, employers are thinking outside the box in an effort to get workers to do the same.  My suggestion for improving employee morale and productivity is far simpler and less costly:  Cancel all meetings. (…) While it is unlikely that we can 3. ……….. meetings altogether, new research by Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock and Joseph Allen suggests there might be a way to make meetings less onerous and more useful: a good laugh.  Humor, it seems, can 4. …………… creativity, elevate collegiality, and improve long term job performance.  Fun meetings, apparently, can be better meetings.

The benefits of humor as an individual coping mechanism and a social lubricant are well established. Humor helps people 5. …………. pain and tragedy, reduces social conflict and promotes group cohesion.  But Lehmann-Willenbrock and Allen explored whether humor in the workplace might also help a corporation 6. ………….. its bottom line.  (…)

To assess humor patterns, Lehmann-Willenbrock and Allen first videotaped 54 different team meetings, each roughly forty-five minutes long, that collectively involved over 350 employees. (…)

You might expect humor to derail or 7. …………. a team, leading team members to be less 8. ……….. or effective.  You would be wrong.  (…) Willenbrock and Allen found that within the meetings, humor patterns triggered problem-solving behaviors (…) and goal orientation (…).  Humor patterns also promoted 9. ……….. behaviors like praise and encouragement, and led to new ideas and solutions.

Critically, this positive work environment 10. ………. into long term gains.  Lehmann-Willenbrock and Allen asked supervisors, who were not present at these meetings, to rate team performance immediately after the meeting and again two years later.  These supervisors reported whether the teams met or 11. ……….. their quantitative targets, and whether or not they showed continual improvement in their professional efficiency.  Humor patterns in the original team meetings were positively related to team performance both immediately and over time.

Key: 1. hinges on; 2. toying; 3. eradicate; 4. enhance; 5. cope with; 6. boost; 7. distract; 8. efficient; 9. supportive; 10. translated; 11. exceeded

In order to read the whole article/check your answers, go to: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-secret-of-better-meetings-fun

Fill in the gaps with some of the verbs from the exercise above. The first letter of each missing verb has been given. Make sure their grammatical form is correct.

1. Lack of trust t………. to our problems.

2. Recently she’s been t………… with the notion of becoming a doctor.

3. A lot ………s on how we are viewed by our investors

4. During the summer months the population of this resort can e ………. 8,000.

5. It was amazing how she c …… with bringing up five children.

6. Major steps have been taken in recent times to e ………… the river’s problems.

Key: translates; toying; hinges; 4. exceed; 5. coped; 6. eradicate



Explore more to create your own teaching-learning experience!

David Grady: How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings