Holding Effective Meetings

Meetings are a great way to bring people together in business to help the business move forward. Sadly though it can quite often be the case that corporate meetings are held by managers who have little else to do and like meetings to make themselves feel important or to justify their existence. For the purpose of this article I will describe a meeting where several people will be invited although the principles can apply to a meeting between just two people.

The first rule to follow when you want to hold an effective meeting is to question if the meeting is really necessary. If it is not then do not hold it as not only will it waste people’s time but it could demoralise them and lower the esteem that they hold for the one calling it.

Once it is deemed that a meeting should be held careful planning will need to be done. Arrange a convenient time and place for the meeting and ensure that all the participants can attend. Use a meeting room where if possible the members of the meeting can face each other.

Prepare an agenda and let the attendees know of any preparation that is required on their part. It is good practice to let them know what the agenda will contain especially the parts where forethought is required. Produce information that needs to be supplied before the meeting for the attendees consideration. It is important that the agenda is appropriate and not allow people to add unnecessary items to it. If the agenda contains quite a number of points for discussion keep them in a logical order so that items with a similar theme follow each other.

At the start of the meeting make sure that everyone is ready and welcome them in a positive tone. Refer to the agenda and set down ground rules on time allowed for comments, breaks and any other necessary things to make the meeting run smoothly. Set a time limit for the meeting and preferably for each section of it where the meeting is made up of a number of points for discussion.

During the meeting make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to speak and not to let one or two individuals commandeer the meeting. Make sure that proper notes are taken so that accurate minutes can be produced.

At the conclusion of the meeting make sure that a plan of action has been agreed upon of the tasks to be done following the meeting and that individuals know what their individual action is. Follow this up within 24 hours with minutes of the meeting circulated to everyone. Decide at the meeting timescales of the actions decided and how they will be followed up.

It is also good after the meeting to have an honest appraisal as to how the meeting was conducted and what improvements could be made.

By following these basic principles you will be able to hold effective meetings.

What tips do you have to pass on to our readers for holding effective meetings? Please leave your comments in the box below.

Roland Millward
The Entrepreneur Club

Image: healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 thoughts on “Holding Effective Meetings

  1. Yes, as Glen said, some good points here Roland.

    I think that, as well as not letting one or two individuals commandeer the meeting, it is equally important not to just let somebody sit quietly and not interact. Draw them in to the meeting with a gentle question, or by asking for their opinion on one of the agenda items.

    It is important for the team that everybody participates in the meeting.

    Eric Woodhams
    Consortia Marketing Ltd

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