How to run an effective meeting

I fear that some of this might be stating the bleeding obvious but in my time I've been to way more frustratingly unproductive meetings than effective ones. Here are my 7 top tips for making meetings really useful ...

  • Write an agenda and a clear objective for the meeting. Ensure that your agenda is timed (more or less) and that the agenda points will be able to deliver on your objectives.

  • Circulate to all participants at least 24 hours before the meeting. If people aren’t clear what the purpose of the meeting is, it can easily steer off course. Write the objectives up and pin them up in the meeting - it serves as a visual reminder and if you steer off course you can visually direct people back to the objectives.

  • At the beginning of the meeting repeat the objective and the desired outcome.

  • Ensure someone is nominated as the note taker (and knows how to write meeting notes).

  • If you are running the meeting be confident and keep to the agenda. People’s time is precious so you want to ensure that you get the most out of the meeting. If it starts to go off track capture the point being made and then suggest that it is discussed at a later time.

  • Always conclude your meeting by summarising any action points/next steps that were agreed, with a time frame against each point. Check that the objective of the meeting has been met.

  • Circulate key points & agreed action points within 24 hrs. (Keep it brief; it is a summary not a full transcript).

Finally, you might want to conduct a personal review of your meetings, this is something you do for yourself. Take no more than five minutes thinking about your meeting afterwards, and take the lessons into your next meeting.

Did we meet the objective?

Did we have enough time?

Was there anything that led us off track that needs to be resolved?

Would the time of the people who attended have been better spent doing something else?

Could I have reached these objectives in half the time?

Did I enjoy this meeting? What would have made it more fun?

Good meetings are efficient, enjoyable and everyone leaves them knowing exactly what they need to do and really fired up to do it.

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