7 Tips for Conducting Highly Effective Meetings

7 Tips for Conducting Highly Effective Meetings

Lila Cailles

What are some tips to conduct effective meetings?

  1. Have a written agenda in advance
  2. Review the attendees list
  3. Manage the meeting by the clock
  4. Prepare important points and decisions
  5. Press for closure
  6. Write minutes of the meeting
  7. Follow up on a meeting

While the goal for any business is to hold effective meetings, just about every business owner and employee has a horror story of meetings gone terribly wrong. This can be due to factors such as half of the meeting time being wasted, people attending meetings dozing off, and meetings filling up an increasing number of hours in the workday. To avoid all that, take a look at some of the effective meeting tips that guarantee success.

Have a Written Agenda in Advance

Two businesspeople looking at a printed meeting agenda

Vague intentions to discuss a topic rarely end on a productive note. One of the most important things you need to do to hold more effective meetings is to construct an agenda. To get your outline started, come up with a list of topics to be discussed. Make sure that materials are provided to attendees at least a day before the meeting.

For better results, provide brief background information on the agenda so attendees are on the same page. The first five minutes of any meeting set the foundation, which makes it the most important component for conducting more effective discussions. In addition to that, it tells everybody in the room why they are there, for how long, and what they need to accomplish.

Review the Attendees List

The attendees can either make or break the effectiveness of the meeting. When you’re calling for one, make sure to invite only the key people and the ones who possess the best input and suggestions to tackle the subject matter. The successful outcome of a meeting is directly dependent on the number of participants. Employees with no relevant role in the topic at hand can waste valuable time and resources. For meeting organizers, you should limit the number of people attending the meeting. If people feel that what’s being discussed isn’t particularly relevant to them, they may view their attendance as a waste of time.

Manage the Meeting by the Clock

An Asian businesswoman presenting during an office meeting

Watching the clock is very important in an effective meeting. Create an agenda that covers the aspects that you wish to plan for, along with a timeline that allows a certain number of minutes for each item. For alignment purposes, email the agenda to the attendees in advance.

With a well-laid-out agenda, everyone is aware of the things to be accomplished, which promotes the effectiveness of the meeting. Once it starts, you should display the agenda up on a screen or whiteboard for better alignment and viewing by the attendees. This will keep them focused on the topic at hand. You must remember that when people attend a meeting, they cannot do anything else, so it is of the utmost importance to make the time count!

Prepare Important Points and Decisions

A vital meeting management tip to learn is summarization. You must be able to address the main point at the end of each discussion and at the end of the meeting. Take note that major decisions may be discussed, which is important for everyone to remember. For instance, it could be a decision on which projects to fund or which projects to let go of. Set out and summarize your time, schedules, implementation plan, and assignments. Then you can have everybody in the meeting agree easily on what has been decided.

Press for Closure

Two asian coworkers finalizing meeting discussions with their boss

Once you start talking about a subject, discuss it thoroughly, but press for closure on what has been decided. You should be able to confirm a decision before you go to the next item on the agenda. Nothing derails a meeting faster than one person talking more than his or her fair share. The inability to keep on track and to press for closure are two of the major factors that waste the time allotted for the meeting.

Write Minutes of the Meeting

Taking notes in meetings is an essential skill. The key reason to take notes in a meeting is to record any questions or assignments that have been directed to the attendees. The art and science of note-taking is a vital professional habit that also matters in the context of meetings. The diversity of the attendees, in terms of their role in the company, should enable each and everyone to have their own interpretations of the meeting. If you happen to be an attendee, you should focus on the decisions made in the meeting and items that require further investigation or action on your part.

Follow Up on a Meeting

An email arriving on a computer

If you plan to send minutes or a summary of the meeting to the attendees, explain what you will include beforehand. The more important the decisions made during the meeting, the more you need to have them distributed in writing. With this, attendees can easily get back to you in case of any questions. For more important matters, make a note on your calendar to continue following up until you reach a conclusion.

Key Takeaway

Meetings are an essential part of every organization. They are a powerful tool, yet widely taken for granted. With this, your ability to run effective meetings is a critical part of your success at work. Enhance employee ideas and consider implementing effective meeting tips to turn time-wasters into foundations for further business success.

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