How-A-Meeting-Agenda-Can-Stop-The-Hidden-Agenda - Meeting Leadership Podcast Episode Image

Does anyone in your meetings have a ‘hidden agenda’? People’s hidden agendas can destroy the productivity of your meetings.

So if you’re a leader who wants to learn how to stop bad behaviour in meetings quickly by leveraging your meeting agenda, then MLP #022 is for you!

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How to stop someone from intentionally trying to slow the meeting down
  • How to ensure that nobody holds back important information and more

And if want to improve your meeting agendas quickly then check out our 5 part series called The Ultimate Team Meeting Agenda Solution, starting in episode 71 –

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Show Highlights

(:00) Show Opening

(:27) Skip intro Podcast content starts here!

(:58) Overview

(1:26) Stop The Hidden Agenda Part 1 Ground rules

(2:03) Stop The Hidden Agenda Part 2 ‘Key Questions For Discussion’ heading

(2:55) Agenda Sends A Warning Before the meeting, people who read the agenda will know that the issues are going to be dealt with

(3:26) Proceed With Caution Get help and a strong meeting facilitator to pull this off

(3:53) Inspirational Quote by Paul Gibbons

(4:15) More Agenda Resources MLP 071: The Ultimate Team Meeting Agenda Solution – Part 1 –

(4:34) Meeting Leadership Academy

(5:00) Podcast Outro 

Click Here To Read The Show Transcript



00:00 – Show Opening

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:27 – Start Here – Podcast content starts here!

Gordon Sheppard Speaking

Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast, where we help leaders, just like you, to really improve your skills and also to learn how to run highly effective meetings. Because if you think about it, you can’t be a leader without having a great meeting, so why not take advantage of this podcast to find the practical ways to do just that. Now, today’s topic is absolutely critical, especially if you’re having some problems during your meetings, because today, we’re going to talk about how a meeting agenda can stop the hidden agenda.

00:58 – Overview

Now, we have all been there when somebody in a meeting is slowing things down, for example, or maybe somebody else there is holding back critical information that needs to be shared with the team to move things forward. Well, one of the best ways to stop these hidden agendas in meetings is to actually use the meeting agenda itself to alert people to the fact that you’re doing to deal with those hidden agenda issues, and let me give you a couple examples of how you can do this.

01:26 – Stop The Hidden Agenda Part 1 – Ground rules

Now, if people are fighting during your meetings, you can actually write the words, ground rules, on the agenda itself, and then you can set out the ground rules for when a fight occurs during a meeting. Now, typically, what I do is, I recommend that you always put in your ground rules that you’re going to make it about the issue, and not about the person, and if there is a fight, one person speaks. Now, by putting this on the agenda, then you’ve sent it out to people before the meeting, and they know that if they’re coming into the meeting to have a fight, that things are going to change, because now there’s new ground rules in place to actually deal with that type of bad behavior.

02:03 – Stop The Hidden Agenda Part 2 – ‘Key Questions For Discussion’ heading

And another way to do this is to put a heading like this right into your agenda, key questions for discussion. Now, by putting sort of the tough stuff into the form of a question, it will lead to a discussion, and that’s not sort of putting names on there and pointing things out. It’s actually making a general question that people then will know they’re going to have to answer for during the next meeting. Here’s a couple of example questions to help you think about this. One could be, “How can we support our meeting leader?” And that would lead to a discussion about ways that people are sort of slowing the meeting down, for example. Another question might be, “How can we create more accountability during this meeting?” And that will take you off on a whole other tangent, but again, these questions are leading back to the core issues that you have to deal with, because you know that if you don’t deal with them, your meetings will not be worthwhile.

02:55 – Agenda Sends A Warning – Before the meeting, people who read the agenda will know that the issues are going to be dealt with

And we can all see what happens next, because when the meeting facilitator distributes the agenda before the meeting, everyone who is involved will see these questions. They’ll see these ground rules right there on the agenda, and then they will know that everyone is aware of the hidden agenda behaviors, and that you’re going to actually deal with them. And when you think about it from a leadership perspective, you can’t afford to have another bad meeting. So this approach is a great way to rip off the bandaid and start getting back to being more productive during every meeting that you’re in.

03:26 – Proceed With Caution – Get help and a strong meeting facilitator to pull this off

And, of course, I have to pass along a word of caution. This approach to using your agenda, it has to be done with care. I can’t say enough about making sure that you get a second set of eyes on your agenda before you send it out if you’re going to do this, and you also want to make sure that whoever’s going to be facilitating that meeting when this approach is done is a strong facilitator, they’re ready to deal with disagreements, and they’re actually going to get a resolution to what you want to get done by taking this approach.

03:53 – Inspirational Quote – by Paul Gibbons

And here’s a quote that I found that will hopefully give you a little inspiration when you’re taking this approach. It’s from Paul Gibbons, the author of The Science of Successful Organizational Change: How Leaders Set Strategy, Change Behavior, and Create an Agile Culture, and Paul says this. “That which a team does not want to discuss, it most needs to discuss.”

04:15 – More Agenda Resources – MLP 071: The Ultimate Team Meeting Agenda Solution – Part 1 –

And if you’d like to pick up a few more practical tips about how to improve your agendas, then keep an eye out for episodes 71 to 75 of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. I’ve created a five part series. It’s called The Ultimate Team Meeting Agenda Solution, and I’ll make sure you’ve got some links to those episodes right in the show notes for this one.

04:34 – Meeting Leadership Academy –

And I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by The Meeting Leadership Academy. If you want to learn even more about how to stop the hidden agenda in meetings, then visit And for all you first time listeners, thanks for joining me, and for everyone who’s showing up every day, I really appreciate that you’re taking the time, and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

05:00 – Podcast Outro

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader, and don’t forget to write that review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here, on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Connect With Gordon Sheppard

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Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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