PPP 413 | Meeting Goblins and How to Deal With Them, with Rich Maltzman and Jim Stewart

Total Duration 55:29

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In this episode, Andy interviews Rich Maltzman and Jim Stewart about their book Great Meetings Build Great Teams: A Guide for Project Leaders and Agilists.

They discuss the common reasons people dislike meetings, such as lack of purpose and poor facilitation. They introduce the concept of 'meeting goblins,' which are negative personalities that emerge during meetings, and provide strategies for dealing with them.

The conversation also covers the challenges and best practices of virtual meetings, as well as the benefits and potential pitfalls of agile ceremonies like daily standups. The conversation focuses on the importance of effective meetings in building great teams. Rich and Jim share their experiences and strategies for running successful meetings, including setting ground rules, timekeeping, and using technology like AI for meeting summaries.

They also discuss the impact of cultural differences on meetings and provide tips for managing diverse teams. The conversation concludes by emphasizing the link between great meetings and great teams, highlighting the role of meetings in fostering collaboration, building relationships, and achieving project goals.

Sound Bites

  • "Meetings are a fact of life, often complained about but also often tolerated."
  • "Connection before context. Before you start right into the meeting, make sure you have a little bit of social interaction."
  • "Goblins are personalities that come out during meetings, and it's up to the meeting facilitator to recognize and address them."
  • "Great meetings aren't just about agendas and facilitation techniques; they're about showing that you care about the project and the team."
  • "Rosie the Reticent is the quiet version of Nadia the Naysayer."
  • "Decision latency is one of the biggest reasons for project failures, so it's crucial to have the right people at meetings."
  • "Understanding national, regional, and organizational cultures is important for effective meetings."


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 02:17 Start of Interview
  • 02:28 Why Do People Hate Meetings
  • 05:06 Meeting Goblins
  • 16:03 Virtual Meetings
  • 19:50 Connection Before Context
  • 20:53 Advantages and Warnings: Agile Standups
  • 27:29 How Culture Impacts Meetings
  • 34:42 When Too Many People Are Invited
  • 41:53 AI and Meetings
  • 47:38 The Link Between Great Meetings and Great Teams
  • 51:26 Interview Wrap Up
  • 52:00 Andy Comments After the Interview
  • 54:16 Outtakes

Learn More

You can learn more about Rich, Jim, and their book here:

If you’d like more on this subject, here are some episodes to check out:

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Thank you for joining me for this episode of The People and Projects Podcast!

Talent Triangle: Power Skills


The following music was used for this episode:

Music: The Fantastical Ferret by Tim Kulig
License (CC BY 4.0): https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Music: Energetic & Drive Indie Rock
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S30Oxdmi1dg
License (CC BY 4.0): https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

PDU Categories: Power Skills

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