So much more than “chit-chat”: A closer look at premeeting talk

Michael A. Yoerger, Joseph A. Allen, Kyle Francis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Premeeting talk (PMT) consists of the verbal and behavioral interactions that occur before a meeting begins. Such talk can be classified as one of four types: Small talk, meeting preparatory talk, shop talk, and work talk. Empirical research on PMT is still in its preliminary stages; thus far, only two studies have focused on PMT, and only small talk has been found to be a significant predictor of meeting effectiveness, above and beyond good meeting procedures. Although PMT is often considered to be insignificant and trivial, initial research on the small talk variation suggests that it has the potential to positively affect an upcoming meeting. Theoretical support for the effects of PMT can be found in a variety of mechanisms, including those found in research on the ripple effect, affective events theory, setting the tone in groups/teams, and emotional contagion. We discuss why investigating how each variant of PMT may be influenced by personality factors is an area that merits further attention, as well as why certain PMT findings in one setting may not be generalizable to other environments. Finally, we conclude the chapter by discussing the future direction of PMT research and provide practical suggestions for managers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Meeting Science
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781107589735
ISBN (Print)9781107067189
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Affective events theory
  • Communication
  • Emotional contagion
  • Meeting effectiveness
  • Meetings
  • Premeeting talk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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