How to Have More Effective Meetings With A.C.E.

Learn How to A.C.E. Meetings

‘The reason people don’t want productive meetings is that they’d have to do more work.’

My old boss gave this sage-like advice. The ‘but’ is that if we accept this as the norm, we are doomed forever. Having to accept that meeting, after meeting, after meeting, is the way it is. Are we doomed to live in this eternal nightmare?

We don’t have to be.

Yes, you can read the meeting books. They’ll normally start with ‘Have an objective’. The words ‘…Sherlock’ come to mind. As with many self-help books, the advice is obvious and will not change your behaviour. But that’s a story for another time.

The Change Formula

There is another way though, here’s the rub. It’s the change formula. The formula works by each of the first 3 parts being multiplied and if they are bigger than the resistance, change happens.

Dannemiller Formula for Change graphic D x V x F data-lazy-src=

So, in order for you to make a change in behaviour, you need to be dissatisfied a lot. Enough to want to overcome any resistance to change, which there will be – ‘Non-one else is changing, so why should I?’

The other two parts of the change formula we’ll cover in a minute.

How to Use A.C.E. in Meetings

3 different colored circles, slowly darkening as the words change from Agenda-to-Evaluate
A.C.E acronym stands for Agenda, Capture, Evaluate


At the start of the meeting take the first 5-7 minutes. Ask, ‘What items are we here to discuss?’. Write them down. Preferably where everyone can see. Once you have them all, group them into the high medium, and low whilst people watch, allowing them to shout, ‘We must do that today’. This whole process is quick and dependent upon you being strong enough not to allow discussion about the content of each point at this stage.


Ask someone to capture the actions. Typing them directly into an email in this format: ‘1. Bob…Get the PowerPoint presentation updated of the XYZ…18-10-20’. And as soon as the meeting ends, bang – send the email out. No tidying-up the formatting. No re-checking. Live the 80:20 and just get it sent. The subject heading is ‘Actions – 09-10-20 – Bob/Andy/Mike’. First agenda items next time? ‘Previous actions’.


At the end of the meeting spare 90 seconds. Ask this question – ‘What one thing can we do to improve this meeting?’. Three people get up to 30 seconds to share. Only choose 3 people.

Short meetings infographic

Revisiting the Change Formula

Coming back to the change formula. The two other parts are first step and vision. Your first step is to do A.C.E. at all of your meetings. Get it wrong and then do it better at the next one. Vision, well, imagine if meetings actually added value, people did their actions, and the business moved forward because of them. We can hope…

  1. Home
  2. Time Management Skills Tips
  3. How to Have More Effective Meetings With A.C.E.

Related Articles:

Time Management

Sticky Learning®

The Ultimate Guide

Ultimate Guide

Related Articles

The Blog

Free e-Assessment

e assessment image

Training Materials

The Shop

YouTube Playlist 

MBM YouTube Videos


MBM Infographics

Glossary of Terms

MBM banner for Effective Leadership terms

Coaching Cards

Coaching Cards

Training Courses

Training Courses

Contact Us or Book a 15 Minute Call

Book a call

Would you like to receive regular articles on learning and development? Improve your personal development?

You may also like:

Starve your distractions

Distractions: How Do You Manage them? And How Do you Focus?

Now, Where Was I? Oh, Yes Distractions. I believe that the most successful people have this in common. They can…
Read Article
Two women taking notes at a business presentation

Women in the Workplace: Expectation of Women & Non-Promotable Tasks

Are Women the Only Do-ers of Non-Promotable Tasks? It’s that time again when some organisations start to have Professional Development…
Read Article
Stack of three post-it notes with first things first written on

Prioritising: Hard to Do But If it Was Easy You’d Already Be Doing it

Prioritising: Let’s Together See if Some of the 21 Ways to Prioritise Below, Can Help You Making decisions is hard.…
Read Article

Written By: