Bridging Science and Business

Vivo Group

Workshop Description 

Are you frustrated by the meetings you attend? Do you feel that they can be a waste of time? Meetings are an essential component of the life science and technology industries, but in too many cases they end up being badly planned and managed, simply due to lack of understanding or knowledge about the essential components of effective meetings.    

This workshop will enable you to improve the meetings you attend, whether you are running the meeting or are a participant. You will learn the fundamentals of what makes meetings successful, and acquire strategies for what to do before, during and after a meeting to improve the productivity of all involved.   

Learning Objectives   

  • The top three reasons meetings fail and how to fix them

  • Tools to evaluate the effectiveness of meetings

  • Formulas to structure meetings that produce results

  • Methods to handle difficult meeting situations such as domination and off track topics

  • Recognizing constructive conflict in technical meetings, and how to manage destructive conflict

  • Ways to ensure that actions are implemented after the meeting

  • How to add value as a participant, as well as a meeting leader  

Topics Covered 

  • Identifying the purpose of meetings to sharpen focus and drive content

  • Selecting models for formal and informal agendas

  • Who to invite – or not invite – to the meeting to improve outcomes

  • Ways to gauge and prepare attendees for more productive participation

  • Kicking off the meeting with content and process ‘frame’

  • Staying in control of the meeting

  • Methods to guide group dynamics and increase participation

  • Powerful questions for higher quality conversations

  • Tools for collectively generating ideas, making good decisions, and obtaining buy-in

  • Recording the output during and after the meeting

  • Strengthen commitment to follow-through and ensure action completion

  • Tips and tools for remote meetings How to evaluate the meeting and measure its effectiveness  


This three-and-a-half hour workshop is highly interactive, and involves small-group discussion of case studies from the life science and technology industries. Participants will gain experience identifying the purpose of meetings, assessing and engaging attendees, and developing an agenda. They will have opportunities to practice some facilitation skills such as moderating conflict, increasing participation, and kicking off a meeting with a content and process ‘frame’.  They will receive hard-copy and electronic tool-kits to improve their meetings.   

Who Should Attend  

  • Experienced managers, project and team leaders, and executives in the life science and technology industries who need to lead meetings

  • Individual contributors who want to gain new techniques for increasing the effectiveness of the meetings they attend or lead

  • Anyone in an academic or professional environment who feels they would benefit from acquiring new skills and techniques to use their time in meetings more productively

Seminar Leaders

Gwen Acton, PhD, is the CEO of Vivo Gropu. She holds a doctorate in biology from MIT, and specializes in developing leadership, management, and soft-business skills of scientists and engineers. Maura Snow is a VP and Senior Consultant in Human Resources at Great Brook Biotech. She has over 20 years experience in HR management and staff development in the life science industries.   

Benefits to the Individual 

  • Less frustration and time wasted in meetings

  • More confidence in facilitating meetings

  • Gain ability to influence meetings, even if not leading them

  • Increase visibility and improve chances of promotion in the company 

  • Improve decision making, morale, and performance in the team  

Benefits to the Organization: 

  • Greater individual and collective productivity

  • Improved meeting outcomes

  • Less conflict and higher morale

  • Shorter meetings

  • Fewer meetings

  • Improved decision making  


5:30-6:00 Registration, refreshments, and networking opportunity 
6:00-6:20 Introductions and overview of workshop 
6:20-8:45 Slide presentation, group discussion, case study analysis, and practice groups 
8:45-9:00 Wrap up and action items     

Workshop Takeaway Materials: 

  • “Effective Meetings” Participant Workbook

  • Facilitation tip sheet

  • Decision making process overview

  • Templates for planning meetings (hard-copy and electronic)

  • Templates for meeting agendas (hard-copy and electronic)

  • Templates for meeting minutes (hard-copy and electronic)

  • Models for evaluating meeting effectiveness and ROI

  • Case study descriptions

  • Recommended reading and resources guide 


Note: Registration is non-refundable, but substitutions are allowed.

Effective Meetings: Whether You are in Charge or Not