The Art of “Meeting Leadership”


Positive Leadership in Project Management


By Frank Saladis, PMP, PMI Fellow

New York, NY, USA



Meetings are, generally, a daily occurrence for the practicing project manager and it seems that, with all of the experience people have in facilitating a meeting, many meetings end up being a costly waste of time. I have spoken with project managers from a variety of organizations, industries and levels of management and when the subject of meeting effectiveness comes up, the discussion includes the question “Do you frequently attend meetings that do not actually result in a useful outcome?” Or, “Have you ever attended a meeting and couldn’t understand why you where there? The truly amazing thing about these questions is significant number of people who answer yes! In every classroom, or seminar I am facilitating, whether there are 10 people or two hundred, the response is always the same: A large percentage of meetings are unproductive and unnecessary.

It seems that the business world, in general, is spending enormous amounts of time, energy, and money having people attend meetings that produce no results. If someone in an organization were to actually calculate the amount of money spent on these unneeded or poorly run meetings, the amount would be shocking.

Here is simple method to calculate the cost of a meeting in an organization:

  1. Meeting duration – in hours                                                                   _______
  2. Number of people attending the meeting                                             _______
  3. (Number of people) x (meeting hours) = total person hours                _______
  4. Estimated hourly cost per person attending (Fully Loaded Rate)          _______
  5. (Fully loaded rate) x (Total Person Hours)                                              _______

This simple calculation (it can be used for in person and virtual meetings) will give you an idea of the cost an organization will incur for just one meeting. Other factors may include travel time, food and beverages, meeting room rental, and technology costs (virtual meeting platforms). Another item to consider is the meeting ROI. How many people at the meeting were determined to be critical to achieve the purpose of the meeting? Is there an opportunity cost for those who attended and were not really needed at the meeting? Was the meeting time appropriate or too long? Did it start late? What was actually accomplished?

Another item to be concerned about is that many people are aware that the meetings they attend are unproductive, unnecessary, or attended by the wrong people and they still keep attending! This may be associated with organization politics and the “legitimate or formal power of individuals who schedule meetings.

An actual quote from a manager: “We will continue to have meetings until we determine why nothing is getting done around here!”

Considering the challenges of planning and leading effective meetings, it’s important for project managers to develop and practice a set of Effective Meeting Leadership Skills. I know of several project managers who run very successful and productive meetings and their reputations as project managers are extremely positive across their respective organizations. People who attend their meetings appreciate the coordination, the minimal non-productive time, the attention to time constraints, and the preparedness of the project manager. These Meeting Leaders are demonstrating one of the many positive aspects of professional project management. Make no mistake about it, project management is far more than the ability to conduct a good meeting, but meeting management is certainly an important skill to keep sharp, especially in the current business environment in which virtual meeting management skills are critical.


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Editor’s note: This article is one in a series on Positive Leadership in Project Management by Frank Saladis, PMP, PMI Fellow, popular speaker and author of books on leadership in project management published by Wiley and IIL in the United States. Frank is widely known as the originator of the International Project Management Day, the annual celebrations and educational events conducted each November by PMI members, chapters and organizations around the world.

How to cite this paper: Saladis, F. (2020). The Art of “Meeting Leadership”: Series on Positive Leadership in Project Management. PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/pmwj100-Dec2020-Saladis-the-art-of-meeting-leadership-series-article.pdf



About the Author

Frank P. Saladis

New York, USA


Frank P. Saladis, PMP, PMI Fellow is a Consultant and Instructor / Facilitator within the project management profession and has over 35 years of experience in the IT, Telecom Installation and IT Project Management training environment. He is a senior consultant and trainer for the International Institute For Learning Inc. and has been involved in the development of several project management learning programs. Mr. Saladis has held the position of Project Manager for AT&T Business Communications Systems, National Project Manager for AT&T Solutions Information Technology Services and was a member of Cisco Systems Professional Services Project Management Advocacy Organization. His responsibilities included the development of Project Management Offices (PMO) and the development of internal training programs addressing project management skills and techniques.

He is a Project Management Professional and has been a featured presenter at the Project Management Institute ® Annual Symposiums, Project World, PMI World Congress, CMMA, and many PMI Chapter professional development programs. He is a past president of the PMI New York City Chapter and a Past-President of the PMI ® Assembly of Chapter Presidents. Mr. Saladis is a Co-Publisher of the internationally distributed newsletter for allPM.com, a project management information portal, and a contributor to the allPM.com project management website.

Mr. Saladis is the originator of International Project Management Day and has written numerous leadership and project management related articles. Mr. Saladis is also the author of the Project Management Workbook and PMP ® / CAPM ® Exam Study Guide that supplements Dr. Harold Kerzner’s textbook – Project Management, A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling?, 9th Edition published by John Wiley & Sons and the author of Positive Leadership in Project Management, published by IIL Publishing. He is a member of the International Executive Guild and the NRCC Business Advisory Council. He has also held the position of Vice President of Education for the Global Communications Technology Specific Interest Group of PMI ® and holds a Master’s Certificate in Commercial Project Management from the George Washington University. Mr. Saladis received the prestigious Lynn Stuckenbrook Person of the Year Award from the Project management Institute in 2006 for his contributions to the organization and to the practice of project management.  He can be contacted at saladispmp@msn.com

To view other works by Frank Saladis, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/frank-p-saladis/