What's New

Bringing Honda to Canada

Many know Trev Deeley through his connection to Harley Davidson and the legacy he brought to the company by being the first distributor of the Milwaukee company in Canada, but not many know that he was also the first distributor of Honda motorcycles in the English-speaking world. In 1957, four years after being appointed general manager of Fred Deeley Motorcycles, Trev came upon an article about a U.S. soldier who had fought in Japan who brought back with him a 250 cc motorcycle made by the Honda Motor Company in Tokyo.

Intrigued, Trev sent a letter to the president of the Honda Motor Company indicating that British Columbia and Japan shared some similarities which could make for a profitable market for the company. This led to a correspondence with the company that resulted in Honda sending Trev a free 250 cc Honda Dream. Regardless of struggling to convince Fred Sr. and Jr., Trev was impressed with the craftsmanship and performance of the bike and became the first distributor of Hondas in the English-speaking world, primarily ordering 50 cc Honda Cubs.

With the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition’s new exhibit “100 Years of Motorcycling”, we hoped to highlight motorcycles that have made some sort of mark over time, and both the 1960 Honda Dream and the 1963 Honda Super Cub are glowing examples, being the first two models of a Honda Motorcycle  tested and distributed by Trev Deeley to an English-speaking market.

Although the 1960 Honda Dream holds significance for being one of the first models of Honda motorcycles to come to the Western world, the Honda Super Cub, which Trev first began distributing, has made great strides, becoming the most produced motor vehicle in history with production passing 100 million units in 2017.

Come check out these incredible bikes and learn a deeper history at the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition’s newly installed display, “100 Years of Motorcycling”!


What's New

100 Years Later

July 2 marks the 1950 grand opening of the East Broadway location of Fred Deeley Ltd. Previously located on West Broadway, Fred Deeley Limited actually got its start all the way back in 1914 with the opening of “Fred Deeley, The Cycle Man,” on 1075 Granville Street. Continuing the same business he had in England, Fred Deeley initially sold bicycles before starting the sale of motorcycles in 1916 with imported BSA’s. Before long, motorcycle business was booming and the sale of motorcycles and bicycles were separated, with a distinct motorcycle shop opening on West Broadway run by Fred Deeley Jr. It wasn’t long until a young Trev Deeley joined the team in 1935 as a mechanic, eventually becoming an integral member of the team. It was Trev’s decision to move the shop’s location in 1950 to its iconic spot at 606 East Broadway.

The Deeley family name has not only been influential in Canadian motorcycle history, but also holds great significance in the history of Vancouver. A racer, a collector, and a philanthropist, Trev Deeley’s distinguished personal collection of motorcycles can be appreciated at the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition.

2017 marks 100 years since the Deeley family placed their faith in an almost unknown motorcycle company from Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Harley Davidson, thus becoming the first distributor of the brand in Canada. To celebrate such a milestone and the evolution of other motorcycle brands throughout the past 100 years, the Deeley Exhibition will be opening its new exhibit, “100 Years if Motorcycling,” on July 5 2017 and we cordially invite you to stop by. With all types of brands and models, there is something for everyone!


What's New

Yes, Motorcycle Chariot Racing Is a Thing

Mirrored after ancient Roman chariot races (the kind that tripped horses and sent men flying into the path of oncoming hooves as in Ben Hur), motorcycle chariot races followed the same principle, and the same level of danger and thrill. The sport of motorcycle chariot racing caught on during the 1920s and reached their peak in the 1930s. It’s not quite clear where the sport began: Australia, New Zealand, America, and parts of Europe all claim to have been founders, however an article from the United States in 1922 is the first real record about motorcycle chariot racing.

The first records of the sport indicate that only one motorcycle was being used, often carrying a chariot constructed from large wine barrels. However, the sport since grew in popularity and the amount of motorcycles pulling the chariot grew as well: four motorcycles appearing to be the pinnacle. Early versions of motorcycle chariot races included riders on the motorcycles themselves, simply pulling along the chariot which features a rider dressed in finery befitting the Roman Empire.

However, a majority of the sports’ brief history did not include a rider, with the charioteer driving the motorcycles themselves. This was done using a couple of methods: One method saw the charioteer using a leather chord as reigns which was attached to each individual motorcycles throttle, controlling both motorcycles simultaneously and at different speeds if need be. Other designs included rigid extensions that came off the handlebars, only allowing the rider to go forward in one gear, with the issue of braking unaddressed.

Although motorcycle chariot racing eventually died out in popularity, there are still some enthusiasts around trying to keep the sport alive, even using choppers as their steel horses.

What's New

Featured Female Rider – Anke-Eve Goldmann

A fashion icon, a racer, a journalist, and a writer, Anke-Eve Goldmann was a pioneer for female motorcyclists, both in Germany and in the United States. In most images, the over-6-foot, dark haired German beauty can be seen riding atop a BMW R69, at the time the fastest Bavarian flat-twin roadster, sporting a leather cat-suit. Although she was never officially sponsored by BMW she almost solely rode bikes produced by the company, displaying the flashy letters of BMW on her classic pudding basin helmet. Her riding gear was designed by herself, with the help of the German manufacturing company Harro, winning her the title of the first woman to wear a once-piece leather racing suit, and aiding female riding fashion in the process, as her designs were approved for public distribution.


Goldmann was often ridiculed and barred from racing due to her sex but that didn’t stop her from competing wherever she could. She participated in speed circuits and endurance races, with her modified for speed BMWs. Unfortunately, she was barred from competing at higher levels or in Grand Prix’s, possibly driving her to help found the Women’s International Motorcyclists Association in Europe in the late 1950’s.

Her passion for racing fueled her journalism career, with articles written for motorcycle magazines such as Cycle World, Moto Revue, and MotorRad. Most notably, Goldmann broke social taboos of the time by crossing into East Germany in 1962 while the Berlin wall was under construction, to document soviet women’s racing. Cold war tensions stopped articles written during this time from being published in European magazines, but they were accepted in American magazines, despite the growing tension of the Cold War Era. Rumor has it that due to her connections and mobility in East Germany, Anke-Eve was approached by the CIA to be a spy, but she refused and stopped traveling to the Soviet Union.

Goldmann’s fast paced and fashionable persona became the influence for André Pieyre de Mandiargues 1963 novel, The Motorcycle. The novel later was adapted into the 1968 cult classic The Girl on a Motorcycle.

Although Anke-Eve stopped riding following the death of a close friend from a riding accident and has stayed out of the public eye since, her legacy lives on through riding fashion, equality, and film.

What's New

You’re Charging Me What?

Your company has tasked you with finding a unique venue for a new product launch or business meeting.  You have a budget.  You have a few event venues in mind.  But before you call venues for information, make sure you know all the elements your event will need.  While the venue and catering costs are usually the largest part of any budget, many overlook the other, expected professional services required for putting an event together.  Make sure when you call a prospective venue, you ask what services are available and what are the costs so you can avoid any surprise cost overruns!

  1. Set up fees

Depending on the venue and depending on your set up requirement, there may be additional labour or rental charges billed for room set up.  Some events set ups take 4 hours or even more.  If this is required the day before or even the day of, this will require the venue to be available to you, which costs the facility either lost business opportunities or overtime labour charges.  The duration of a meeting or event does not start when guests arrive and leave. . . Be realistic about how much time your event needs, from the load in to the tear down, and ask the venue what they charge.

  1. A/V

Depending on the level of your speaker’s requirements, A/V can be as simple and inexpensive as using your company’s portable projector or can run thousands of dollar if you need to hire a professional A/V company to set up, run and tear down your presentation.  Sometimes a venue will have high quality, built in A/V.  Determine what your expectations will be – a portable projector may work for a small, internal meeting but for a larger meeting or event, a more robust, high quality, professional set up is expected.  Don’t underestimate the costs for A/V.

  1. WiFi

In this connected world, access to WiFi is an expectation of guests but free W-Fi is never good and good WiFi is never free!  Ask your special events venue if there is an extra charge for WiFi.  If free WiFi is available, make sure it will meet the needs of your meeting.  If your presenters require the internet to show content, free WiFi may not be sufficient.  Always make sure what you need and expect.

  1. Labour

Unless you have a team of volunteers, labour is not free – not for your company and not for the venue.  Determine what assistance you will need to plan, set up, execute and tear down your event if you are managing it yourself.  If you require assistance with your event, expect that there will be labour charges and staff appropriately before your event.  Never underestimate how much help you will need – not having adequate coverage on the day of your event will be either very stressful for you or may impact the success of your event.

  1. Parking

If parking is not free, what will that cost your company or how will it impact the success of your event?  If you are hosting a company meeting and bringing employees to a central location, will employees expense their mileage and parking to the company?  If you are selling tickets for a training seminar, will a high cost of parking impact registration?  If you are hosting a reception to clients, will paying for parking impact their decision to attend?


If you are hosting your meeting in downtown Vancouver, be ready to pay for parking in one form or other.  In fact, if your company is paying for parking expenses, the cost of the parking can often exceed the cost of the venue.  This overlooked expense is typically not included in a meeting planner’s budget but is nevertheless part of the total cost.

Remember, in most venues, the fee for rental space is just for space.  Don’t make the mistake of expecting that all the elements you need will automatically be included in the venue rate.  Also, budget realistically . . . both with your time and money.  Venue and F&B selection may be the easiest elements to decide when planning an event. . . don’t underestimate the resource and staffing requirements for a successful execution.

If you are looking for a central Vancouver or Burnaby event venue with free parking and reasonable WiFi and AV costs, call the Deeley Exhibition for your free site visit at 604.909.6234

What's New

RECAP: The 3rd Annual Vancouver Vintage Motorcycle Show & Shine 2016


On Sunday June 26th, the Deeley Exhibition presented its third annual Vancouver Vintage Motorcycle Show and Shine. The event was blessed with fantastic weather and well attended with over 60 registered motorcyclists including collectors, builders, vintage motorcycle clubs members and those enthusiasts who just love riding old bikes.  With over 150 people in attendance, riders and non-riders alike got to view some amazing motorcycles while grabbing a delicious bite to eat off the Grill.

This year we saw a few more choppers and customs along with mint old stockers, and some very unique builds, most notably Paul Brodie’s Excelsior board tracker. Built entirely by hand, Brodie’s beautiful Board Track replica was a work of art.  If you’re into vintage bikes or frame building, you’ll want to check out Paul’s website  It offers a wealth of information along with some great stories.1919 Excelsior Boardtrack Racer

The event was attended by a good grouping of Indian motorcycle enthusiasts, including a couple of fully decked out Chiefs on show. Back again this year was a particularly uncommon vehicle – a 1934 Harding Deluxe Model B invalid carriage – brought out by Dave Liversidge. This type of motorized tricycle wheelchair (it can either be driven with the hand pedals or the Villiers motorcycle engine) was given to injured veterans by the British government after WWII. Finding one in any condition today is a rarity, especially a well restored, running version!

As we do every year, the Deeley Exhibition brought out a few rarely seen motorcycles from storage to display including the very unusual ‘Norton’ motorcycle powered by an NSU car engine, a rare Harley-Davidson rotary engine military bike, an early Honda Goldwing, and a 1948 Velocette Mac.

Other standouts this year were a Paul Smart Ducati racer, a Kawasaki H1 and a 1935 Harley-Davidson with side car. The Harley with the sidecar was a cool runner with perfect patina – A few lucky people even got a chance to get a ride around the parking lot in it!   With so many great bikes and particular stand outs on display, there were many favorites to choose from!H-D with sidecarCrowd shot-PS-cropped and colour corrected

We look forward seeing what amazing motorcycles come our way at our 2017 Show & Shine and constantly seek to improve our community event. . . If you have any feedback about this Show and Shine, be on our e-mail or call list for next year or would like to share your ideas with us, please email us at

We look forward to seeing you at Vancouver Vintage Motorcycle Show & Shine 2017!

What's New

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free & Vegetarian – How to Plan for Special Diets

Diet restrictions and food allergies are increasingly common as people are becoming more aware and health conscious. Figuring out an event menu can turn into a major obstacle for a lot of event planners. You need to be prepared for all of the special diets that you might be faced with.

Follow our guide on how to plan for special diets.

Planning Ahead

Know the basics

Before you decide on a caterer or build out your menu, get to know some of the basic diets restrictions that are out there. Although there are many different types of sensitivities, the main diet restrictions to consider before selecting a menu can be gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian. Consideration should also be made for religious diets such as Kosher or halal, as well as common allergies such as nuts and shellfish.

Types of Diets

  •      Gluten-free – A diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale.
  •      Dairy-free is a diet that is free from milk-based ingredients.
  •      Vegan is a diet where one does not eat or use animal products.
  •      Vegetarian is a diet where one does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products. Some vegetarians eat eggs and fish, so it’s important to clarify how strict they are.

What to expect

With the growing popularity if some of these diets, always expect and plan for some kind of restriction. Around 10-25 percent of any group may have some limitations on what they can eat, so make sure you take that into account before committing to anything.


Remember to ask the group during registration. This can easily be done in the invitation; that way you will know what to watch out for, and can plan accordingly.   Make sure that all special request meals are submitted to the caterer at least one week before the event.  If a guest makes a special request and decides that they wish to eat something they did not order, their choice may impact other guests.

Sensitivity vs preference

Guests often provide special requests based on their eating preference rather than an actual allergy.  If a guest provides a complicated food request or substitutions, you may want to inquire if the guest has a food allergy or a dietary preference.   Caterers and chefs are very careful that their food offerings will not cause a guest to become ill.  For special orders, they are often prepared in special sanitized areas to avoid any cross contamination (ie. Nuts, gluten).  Special requests may be subject to additional charges due to the product and labour costs related to ensuring the request is executed properly.  To avoid adding costs to your F&B, it may be prudent to ask such guests what they can eat and have the chef provide alternate options that will satisfy the needs of the attendee.

Selecting a Menu

Stick with simple

The more guests you have could mean the more restrictions you will encounter. Keep the menu simple and select a variety of menu options to accommodate everyone, rather than providing a separate meal to everyone with a special diet. Weigh your options and keep it as simple as you can, only providing a separate restricted meal option if it’s easier or better for your event budget.

Ensure flavour

Be open, and test out the special dishes. One of the biggest complaints is that the special meals tend to lack in flavour.

Ask for recommendations

If you’re having trouble with any of your guests’ restrictions, be sure to ask the chef or even ask the guest for assistance. If their request is overly restrictive, ask them what meals they tend to eat and try to make a plan around that.

Just in Case

There are so many things that are going on during the day of your event. In order to avoid any issues that might come up, remember to:

  •      Label everything – By labeling things GF (gluten-free) or V (Vegetarian) you will save your guests from having to play the guessing game, or being asked the same question ten times over.
  •      Have the ingredient lists on hand – Knowing what is in everything will stop you from running around looking for the chef when guests have questions.
  •    Have a backup  – Calculate a safety net. Sometimes people forget to voice a restriction, or someone might favour a meal that wasn’t intended for them. Moreover, you may have a guest that requested a special meal only to decide to eat the “normal” menu.  You may want to order additional portions to ensure that all guests are satisfied, regardless of their ultimate choice.

Here at Deeley Exhibition we work with our vendors to be as accommodating as possible. To learn more about our catering options, give us a call. We are experienced, professional, and happy to provide assistance in planning your private or corporate events.

fine dining event venue with draped tables and professional servers holding platters

What's New

7 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Speaker

      When it comes to planning or hosting an event, deciding who will do the talking is a big priority. Your speaker or emcee will be addressing, entertaining, and engaging your audience, so choosing the right person is important. There are many qualified speakers out there, but not everyone would be suited for your event.

To help you learn the ropes of how to go about hiring a professional, we’ve put together a list of seven things to consider before hiring a speaker.

Know your goals

  • Understanding your goals and being able to communicate the intent of your event with your speaker is key. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, the requirements will be different. Whether your goal is to inspire, educate, or purely to entertain, knowing your goals and sharing them with your speaker allows them to customize their performance to your event’s needs.

Consider your audience

  • The person you hire should be able to relate to your audience, understand their wants and needs, and deliver a performance will live up to their expectations. Getting to know your audience will help you weed out speakers that might not necessarily engage your audience.

What is your budget

  • Events are costly; hiring a speaker can be an additional and often unexpected burden. Knowing your budget is the key to not overextending yourself (or your resources) later. Good speakers can charge a significant amount of money, so knowing whether an influential speaker is important or not will help you figure out where to spend and where to cut costs in your event budget.

What’s important to you

  • Would you rather have someone who dazzles and entertains, or motivates and inspires? As with understanding your audience and goals, knowing what characteristics you want in a speaker or what you want them to get the audience to do twill help you add or eliminate candidates from your list of potential speakers

Who is available to you

  • After considering all of the above factors, it’s time to start reaching out to people and find out who is actually available for your event. Influential speakers tend to have busy schedules, so if you already know that you need a specific speaker or that you need a big name for your event, you should do this step first.

Check their references

  • Your potential speaker might seem perfect on paper and great in person, but taking the time to check references and review previous performances is crucial. Ask the candidate for their last three performances and references in addition to what they have already prepared. This will ensure that they aren’t just choosing their best performances, and that you’ll have a better idea of their skill.

Trust your instincts

  • After prioritizing your event’s needs and narrowing your searches, you need to rely on your instincts. This event is yours, you understand what it needs and what it lacks. Trust your instincts when selecting a final candidate, and choose someone who will give your event exactly what it needs.

If you have found a speaker and are now looking for a unique local venue in Vancouver, reach out to Deeley Exhibition. We are experienced, professional, and happy to provide assistance in planning your private or corporate events.meeting room with podium, tables, chairs in semi circle

What's New

The Vancouver Vintage Motorcycle Show and Shine


On Sunday June 26th, Deeley Exhibition will be hosting its 3rd annual Vancouver Vintage Motorcycle Show & Shine.  Collectors and enthusiasts will ride (and in some cases trailer) their pre 1980’s motorcycles down to 1875 Boundary Rd to the parking lot of Deeley Exhibition to show off their ride and hang out with other motorcycle fanatics.

You never know what you’ll see when you come to our event. Last year Terry Frounfelker showed up with his restored 1926 Paragon Villiers motorcycle that had been assembled at Fred Deeley’s shop on Granville Street in Vancouver. He even gave everyone a show and rode around the parking lot. We saw Indians to Ducatis, touring bikes and café racers – we even had a few cool old choppers show up.

The event is always a lively one.  Along with the amazing and rare machines that come in, we get to meet the interesting owners of these motorcycles, all of whom are ready to share some info, tips, history and stories.   A food truck will be on site all day to keep visitors fed and hydrated and for those bikers that pre-register their motorcycle before the event will receive a voucher for a free lunch!  In addition, the Deeley Exhibition will display a few select rarely seen gems from our collection in the Show & Shine and offer 50% off admission fees to the Exhibit.  We are excited that this year’s response has been strong and have several rare motorcycles registered already!

Back by popular demand, our former Deeley Exhibition Historian Terry Rea will be on hand to share stories and the history of the Deeley Family and Collection.

Do you have a Vintage motorcycle you’d like to show off? Love antique motorcycles?  Whether you ride or not, don’t forget to come down June 26th for Bikes, Burgers and good time.

For more information, call us at 604 293 2221 or Email to register. See you at the 3rd Annual 2016 edition Vancouver Vintage Motorcycle Show & Shine!

What's New

A Tribute to Movie Motorcycles

A Tribute to Movie Motorcycles Province pg2

In a Tribute to Movie Motorcycles, The Vancouver Province newspaper gives a great review of our Cycles & Cinema museum exhibit on at Deeley Exhibition. See the write-up in the Thursday May 5th edition of The Province:

What's New

What We Wore To Ride: Part 1: 1900 – 1950

From gentleman’s activity to rebel trademark, a sartorial history of motorcycling.

Prior to the first World War, motorcycling was an activity favored by society’s leisure class. Wearing a tweed suit with a waistcoat and long duster jacket was au courant, and often worn atop a bike. Luckily for those early riders who happened to crash, motorcycles at the time were basically bicycles with motors attached, and rarely reached speeds over 30 k/hr.
By 1914, with the start of the War, thousands of motorcycles were produced throughout the world for military use. U.S. servicemen atop a motorcycle wore a uniform almost identical to the U.S. Cavalry uniforms – the shirts, gauntlets, pants (or jodhpurs), and boots were all the same. Long duster coats, which tended get caught dangerously in the wheels, were replaced by waist-length jackets. Cavalry uniforms provided a degree of protection and comfort, as needed mobility on a motorcycle was considered similar to that needed to ride a horse. In place of a protective helmet, military caps or soft leather or canvas aviator caps were worn, often with riding googles.

Leather aviator cap, riding googles and a customized kidney belt from the Deeley Exhibition collection.
Leather aviator cap, riding googles and a customized kidney belt from the Deeley Exhibition collection.


Not as popular today, kidney belts were an absolute necessity in the 1920s and 30s, with the rough roads motorcyclists had to ride before the arrival of full suspension systems. These belts were commonly decorated with jewels, tacks, hand painting or embossing—becoming Americana folk art—and are now coveted by collectors. Harley Davidson and Indian dealerships even offered matching kidney belts and saddlebags to stay on top of the trend.

A motorcycle helmet is unarguably the most important piece of motorcycle gear to be worn when riding. The first motorcycle helmet was invented by Gottlieb Daimler in the late 19th century, for his ‘Riding Car’ prototype, but with only cotton batting as padding, it wasn’t built for speed. The Daimlet Reitwagen ‘Riding Car’ was capable of speeds only up to 12km/h. As motorcycle speeds increased, the fatalities increased in parallel. It wasn’t until 1935, when the infamous journalist T. E. Lawrence, or ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, crashed his Brough Superior and died from the resulting head injuries, that the world of motorcycling took action to address the need for adequate head protection. One of the doctors that attended to Lawrence was Hugh Cairns, who began an extensive study of head injuries resulting from riding. Cairns faced a lot of setbacks when conducting his research, the biggest being that he could not find enough motorcyclists willing to wear a helmet, which would prove that wearing helmets did make a significant difference. A major milestone was reached when the British Army heeded his research and issued an order in 1941 requiring all WW2 servicemen on motorcycles to wear either a cork shelled or rubber helmet.

At the Deeley Exhibition, we have the largest collection in Canada of vintage bikes from around the world, including a replica of the aforementioned Daimler ‘Reitwagen, and a spectacular Brough Superior in our current exhibit, Cycles & Cinema. We’re open every day, stop by to say hello and take a look at the collection!

What's New

How To: Build An Effective Meeting Agenda

Dying of ‘death by meetings’? We’ve all had meetings where conversation runs at tangent from the important issues, people come unprepared, or there are people involved in the meeting who don’t really need to be there. The end result of these meetings it that they’re often a colossal waste of time.

This is not an exaggeration. The problem is prevalent enough that Harvard Business Review built a Meeting Cost Analyzer to help you find out approximately what your meeting costs in terms of lost productivity.

The problems which lead to derailed, sidetracked, and ineffectual meetings are often the result of a poorly designed and communicated agenda.

An effective agenda lets team members an attendees know what to bring, how to prepare, who has the floor and when, and what the takeaways will be when the meeting is finished. A well-designed agenda facilitates a team’s ability to address issues and problem-solve in the shortest possible time, and clearly identify who has responsibility of the action items, before leaving the meeting.

Agenda Kung-Fu

If you want to really exercise your acumen, we’ve laid out a pattern which will help you to streamline and accelerate the pace of your meetings. If you use the below workflow, your meetings will get shorter. The better you get at it, the faster you’ll be able to move through it. Just be consistent.

Put it all on the table: Before you even mention a meeting, get everyone’s aches and pains on the table. Go to each team member and get their roadblocks, issues, pending approvals, et cetera, and list it all out. Sort it based on importance and precedence: if it’s not critical and not holding something else up, can it for an email thread. (Honestly, how many meetings have you been in that could have been replaced by an email?)

Sort what’s there: Once you’ve eliminated anything that can be answered out of a meeting, look at the second tier of asks: those things which can be handled in a short, tactical huddle instead of a strategic meeting. If the answer someone needs can be arrived at in a problem-solving session, or by getting the right people in the room, make it a small meeting with only the required people. Get those out of the way before you inconvenience team leads and other managers with bigger meetings. These smaller meetings, or groups of smaller meetings, are a great opportunity for recurring weekly or monthly half-day planning sessions and huddles.

Invite the key players: It’s a short rule… “If someone doesn’t need to be in a meeting, don’t invite them.” It seems like an obvious rule, and one many people try to follow, but it’s one that gets broken all the time. Often we invite people because we want them to feel included, or because they may present a fresh perspective – this can be good for envisioning meetings, depending on your industry – but more often than not you’re only adding time and confusion to a meeting. If an attendee doesn’t play a critical role in the meeting, or doesn’t possess some unique skill, expertise, or perspective the other members lack, (or the thing being discussed isn’t their direct responsibility) don’t waste your time or theirs. Leave them out of the meeting.

Keep it timely: It’s the chair’s responsibility to keep the show moving. The chair needs to be empowered to cut people off without hurting people’s feelings (and this needs to be established by the leadership from Day 1). Establish a neutral sign for telling someone to wrap it up. This can be a hand gesture, a light knock on the table (like signalling a ‘stay’ in poker), or even holding up a card. If any one person talks for longer than 60 seconds and they’re not communicating valuable, actionable information: cut it off, summarize their point, and move on.

Recap, recap, recap – Use the Rule of ‘W’: What may be the most powerful question you can ask in a meeting, in terms of efficiency. If you’re focused on GSD (Getting S#$% Done), send the following out a week before your first meeting, and send an After-Action Email following every meeting thereafter going forward.

  1. What’s good? – What were the big wins? Are you on time? On budget?
  2. What’s bad? – What big thing didn’t get done, what failed, or what needs fixing?
  3. What’s at risk? – Is there a looming deadline? Is a client about to walk?
  4. What did we get done last period/meeting? – Or, get the small stuff out of the way. Use this as a checklist to measure progress.
  5. What are we doing this week/now? – What needs to get done for the bigger above items to move forward?
  6. What decisions/approvals are outstanding? – Has everything been signed off on? Is the decision maker on the call/in the room? Why not?
  7. What stands in the way? – See above. If it hasn’t been addressed by the time you get to this point, it’s likely something you’re waiting on from someone else. Usually sub-trades, contractors, service providers, or business partners. What is the shortest path to clearing these roadblocks?

Note: The above isn’t just for project meetings or committee decisions… The ‘Rule of W’ process is absolutely relevant to design meetings. Good design is not smoke and mirrors; it is iterative, solution-oriented, audience-aware problem solving. Design is almost never right on the first try [when it is, reward the person who designed it]. Good design is artisanal, and it depends on smart people applying active listening, adjusting for fit, and stakeholders providing meaningful feedback which takes into account the business objectives. Your designers absolutely need to be in on design meetings.

Define Ownership: Once you’ve given a good run-through of the ‘Rule of W’, in the order listed above, lay out who’s responsible for each of the action items by the next meeting. Set a deadline for early response, and follow-up dates. For example: if you’re waiting on a service install by a partner before the next thing can get underway, identify whose responsible for confirming the dates, troubleshooting for completion, and follow-up once it’s done so the other team members know to start their tasks.

After-Action Email: Make sure that you capture the above in an email and it goes out to everyone who was in attendance. That way they can share it with their reports and subordinates as an FYI, or for the purposes of delegating smaller tasks when they need help. It should be skim-able. Keep it short. Bullets are best. (See below for an example email.)

Review for success: Before you leave your meeting, every meeting ask ‘What worked and what didn’t?’ Taking 3-5 minutes to review and identify what is working, what isn’t and who does/doesn’t need to be in the next meeting will help you shave valuable meeting time and let people get on with doing their jobs.

After Action Email

Here’s a sample after-action email for a meeting addressing the brand rollout and office expansion for an industrial services company.

Brand Meeting After Action Email (03/19/2016)


Hello ladies and gents. Here’s the AAE for today’s meeting. Next follow-up is next Thursday at 10:30 am. Same attendees.

Good: Selected printer for letterhead and business cards, go-ahead on design of new brand website, and estimates received from designers for fleet vehicle wraps.
Bad: Costs are +10% higher on vehicle signage due to USD change.
Risk: Designers don’t have template for new Nissan cargo van, recommend hold off on acquisition of those vehicles until templates received from Nissan.
Last Period: Put out RFQ for letterhead/documentation design, close logo design, and receive fleet agreements.
This Period: Proceed with Ford fleet agreement and vehicle wraps (David). Sign-off on pending new office lease, and signage install (Bryan).
Pending Approvals: New office hiring documentation (Amanda). Budget and operating line for new office furnishing, equipment, and payroll (Janice).


If you’ve got regular meetings you’re committed to and need a secure, private location with ample free parking, accessible to downtown Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, and New Westminster, give Deeley Exhibition a call. We offer half-day, full-day, and evening bookings for our meeting room.