Cameron Herold Touches on Common Meetings Mistakes

By Matt Swenson, September 13, 2018

Renowned meetings coach Cameron Herold graciously picks up the phone when an apologetic reporter calls five minutes past a scheduled appointment. The circumstance allows Herold to launch into one of his talking points.

“When you tell people, ‘Sorry I’m late,’ you are really saying, ‘I’m selfish; I’m disrespectful and I didn’t plan for anyone else except me,” he explains.

Herold, founder of the COO Alliance, is not trying to be rude, but it’s not exactly a gentle joke either. Time management, he says, is one of the culprits of why many people dread meetings.

Herold would know. He wrote the book on that subject. “Meetings Suck” explores common mistakes planners make. Those errors lead to attendee dissatisfaction and generally nonproductive gatherings.

“Meetings are awesome if you know how to run them,” he says.

Tech companies, Middle Eastern monarchies and the second in command at Sprint have all hired Herold to mend their ways. In some respects, he is like a Little League coach stressing the importance of practice.

“If you don’t know how to hit or throw a ball, you’re not going to like baseball,” he says. “But once you get the knack, you can be an all-star.” The catch is you may have to unlearn some bad habits, like the ones below.


“I call it the Kumbaya group hug,” Herold says of asking too many people to sit in on a meeting. Don’t be afraid to leave someone out. If you question their importance to the meeting, they probably don’t need or want to be there anyway. You won’t hurt the person’s feelings and, in reality, the employee is able to be more productive focusing on tasks at hand. “It starts to streamline the meeting and saves the company tons of money because you don’t have a bunch of people sitting in room they shouldn’t be in,” he says.


Back-to-back meetings can be grueling to attendees. They also often result in scheduled meetings starting late—and we already know what Herold thinks of tardiness. While you may not be able to avoid multiple meetings in one morning or afternoon, there is a solution. Herold suggests giving yourself a buffer. “I finish every phone call and meeting five minutes early,” he says.

Herold goes to the extreme by setting a timer during meetings to end earlier than scheduled. When in a keynote capacity (he’s spoken in 28 different countries), Herold, a veteran of Ted Talks, is more generous. He tells the audience that if there’s a 15-minute break, he will set the alarm for one minute prior to the scheduled start time. But rest assured: He won’t start late.

Misassigning Roles

A CEO’s job is to be a leader. As the face of the brand, the CEO can’t be negative in public. The COO is meant to keep the engine running, even if it means ruffling a few feathers. Make the second in command the meeting moderator and allow the CEO to shine, suggests Herold.


Naturally, Herold advocates for face-to-face discussions. But when that’s not possible, he strongly pushes for video conferencing instead of email. While everything is in writing via email, humor or emphasis on certain words is easily lost. Plus, it’s easy to misread a sentence. Take the case when Herold thought he was joining a conference call early but was actually half an hour late. Did he apologize? “I should have,” he admits, laughing at the irony.

(Visited 80 times, 1 visits today)

Connect Association is proud to present our inaugural class of 15 Over 50. These individuals are leaders, mentors and stars who moved the events industry

Amanda Cox, director of sales and marketing at JW Marriott Marco Island, shares her insight on the resorts latest transformations.

Explore L.A., where the great outdoors awaits groups.

Stephanie Donoho, administrative director of the Kohala Coast Resort Association dispels myths from the Big Island’s 2018 eruption.

The only thing we can assure you of, even though you don't know where you're heading for your team-building event with Mystery Trip, is that you will have

Brightline, the the only privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail service in the United States, launched last year with service between Miami,

Looking for experiences to relax or renew your group? Check out these five ways to get inspired.

Hard Rock Riviera Maya will rock you—Dive into a new way of producing meetings with wellness-centered accommodations, activities and more.

No one wants to waste time during meetings—follow these 5 steps to make your time spent more effective.

Following these six steps to create a zero-waste event.

The best social media practices for meeting planners to engage your event attendees from start to finish

Detroit is re-energized after a plethora of new additions and renovations.

Explore Monterey, California, where the great outdoors awaits groups.

Katherine Lo, founder and president of Eaton Workshop and Sheldon Scott, director of culture at Eaton DC give us an inside look into the trendy DC stayover.

Explore Squaw Valley, California, where the great outdoors awaits groups.

Stephanie Klett, Wisconsin’s Secretary of Tourism for the past eight years, was named as the new president and chief executive officer of VISIT Lake

The Latest