Better, more productive meetings with Caterina Kostoula


Picture of Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula is an executive coach and founder of The Leaderpath.

Her mission is to coach pioneering leaders for impact and fulfilment.

She has worked as a Global Business Leader at Google where she was
also a 5-star rated internal coach. She has coached leaders and teams from Google, Amazon, Stripe and Workable, as well as a number of startups.

Caterina teaches the popular Life Vision Programme at INSEAD Business School.

Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and Thrive Global. Her best-selling book, “Hold Successful Meetings”, was published by Penguin in 2021. Her TEDx talk is called “Do your goals prevent your success?”


– MSc in Executive Coaching from Ashridge Business School (EMCC-accredited)


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Better, more productive meetings with Caterina Kostoula

Meetings don’t need to be painful. What can you do to make your meetings more productive and even fun?

Imagine the joy of attending and leading more successful meetings. Watch this video with Caterina Kostoula while she reveals practical tips, ideas and insights to conduct better meetings. Stop the torture of boring meetings. Instead energise your meetings with purpose, energy and satisfaction.

If you want to lead and participate in more productive meetings watch this conversation with Caterina Kostoula on the podcast, Your Intended Message. She is the author of the book, Hold Successful Meetings.

In this discussion with Caterina Kostoula, she reveals practical insights and ideas to:

Avoid the common mistakes of painful meetings
How to better clarify the purpose of your meeting
Why you need to identify the different types of meetings
Invite the right people to meetings
Understand the danger of too many attendees
A better way to frame your agenda
Why the first agenda item is important
How to encourage more inclusion and participation
Want to stimulate creative thinking and harvest more creative ideas? You’ll be excited to hear these ideas.

Discussion Outline
0:00 Let’s start the meeting with Caterina Kostoula
2:04 Meeting mistakes you can avoid
3:20 What’s wrong with the Monday morning meeting?
5:45 Four D outcome of the meeting – Define, 0evelope, Decide, Do
8:30 Who needs to be at the meeting?
9:40 Who consults, decides and executes?
12:40 Timing of meetings – when and how long?
18:00 How to shorten meetings?
19:40 Better way to start the meeting
23:00 How to include the reluctant people and the introverts?
26:35 How to encourage creative ideas from a hesitant group?
30:00 How to mange energy drain in meetings?
33:50 Final three tips for meeting leaders

How successful are your meetings? You can see how they measure up by taking this quick quiz…

You can listen to this interview on the podcast, Your Intended Message. Use your favorite podcast app or listen here…

Excerpts from this conversation with Caterina Koustoula about successful meetings:

I think the biggest mistake is having a meeting with no clear purpose, or having a meeting for the wrong purpose. A lot of times, we think we need a meeting to update each other.

That is a typical meeting that could have been an email, or we have meetings, boring status meetings that everybody hates.

And the deeper objective we have is our we need to be connected as a team. But actually to be connected with the team, you would be better off have social time, have some do something else a joint experience, rather than have a boring status update. So I would say that’s the number one mistake that anymore.
I introduced the four D model in the book, and it’s four outcomes you can be pursuing in the meeting.

You can either define a problem or a goal. You can develop ideas, you can decide or do something in the meeting or have action as the outcome after the meeting.

So define a problem or a goal, develop ideas, decide or do these are the stages to solve any problem, by the way. So the first thing I would say to that manager is what which one of the four DS maybe there’s more than one, are you going to pursuing your meeting tomorrow, these are the outcomes.

And if it’s more than one, let’s say we want to define the problem and develop ideas, do it in distinct sections, because then you align all the participants towards the same outcome, the chaos in meetings happens. And I’ve seen this because I’ve observed meetings of my clients, because someone is producing ideas, someone is trying to work through the implementation of one of the ideas, the other person doesn’t understand the problem at all.

The leader usually wants to make a decision and move on. But people are still generating new ideas. And there is chaos, because individually, we move through all this stages of problem solving back and forth.

But if you put a team or a group trying to work through a problem, everyone is in a different stage, and there is chaos. So a simple, very simple thing you can do is actually be clear with your participant, is this a develop ideas meeting.

So the outcome is we’ll leave here with a list five years, is it the decide meeting, are we going to leave with a list of decisions, so that I would say will have the biggest impact in short time in the outcome of the meeting?

Listen to the podcast, Your Intended Message, to learn how to communicate more effectively in the workplace. Your host is George Torok, specialist in communication and presentation skills.

Learn about the coaching and training programs