How to Run a Good Meeting

Business meeting

It is relatively safe to say that most people, if not all, consider meetings a big waste of time. According to CBC news, 39% of Americans who attend meetings fall asleep midway into the meetings. However, their importance cannot be underplayed, and it is, therefore, necessary to strive for effectiveness whether you are the one organizing the meeting or an attendee at the meeting. If done correctly, they are a great tool to enhance productivity at work. Here are some tips on how to run a good meeting.


Before you send out invites, establish a clear objective for the meeting; what you hope to accomplish with the meeting. It may be that the company is experiencing challenges, a change of plans, feedback or a decision which has to be made in certain situations at the work place, etc. This prevents holding meetings with no clear purpose which are a waste of time for everyone involved. It also helps you to stay on course during the meeting. You may opt to share the agenda on the screen with your colleagues. It creates a focus for everyone involved as they know what to expect.

Attendance List

The purpose of the meeting should guide you on who to include in the attendee list.  Only the people affected by the situation need to be present. If peoples’ skills, input, and expertise are relevant to the topic of discussion, you are likely to have a more productive meeting.

Keep Time

When you make a deliberate effort to arrive and end your meetings on time, your colleagues will be more apt to attend your meetings. If possible, finish a few minutes before time. They will appreciate this as it shows that you value everyone’s time. The concentration span of individuals also varies so schedule meetings that last an hour or less. That way, everyone is actively engaged till the end.  If you have to go longer, take breaks in between to allow people to reset their minds.

Establish Ground Rules

This gives a framework to prevent derailing from the meeting’s agenda. For instance, if you need input from your colleagues, give a time frame for each person to air their views. Be firm on the rules and do not hesitate to call people out when they break the set rules.

Discuss important points and Decisions Before the Meeting

Sometimes very critical decisions need to be made during meetings. Therefore, communicating with people before the meeting is recommended. This gives everyone a chance to deliberate on the matter and come up with feasible solutions by the time you meet. It may be time-consuming, but it will surely increase the likelihood of a successful meeting.

Remove Distractions

An excellent way to hold a successful meeting is to eliminate all the possible distractions that could arise. This could be from an observation you made from previous meetings.  A good example is technology. If people are constantly checking their phones, iPads, laptops, etc., they are likely to not contribute to the meeting. Banning the devices from meetings and board rooms will allow people to remain focused bringing about a fruitful meeting.

Take Notes

Taking notes is a best practice that is taken lightly a lot of times.  It helps you keep track of important issues, questions or assignments that have been addressed in the meeting. A paper notebook is better than a computer or any other device as people might wrongly assume you are catching up one email or an agenda other than the meeting itself. If you are planning to send minutes of the meeting later on to the attendees, strongly consider this. Also, let them know at the start of the meeting.

Do a Follow Up

After the meeting, ensure that you follow up to make sure everyone is on the same page. People may interpret things differently, or some things may not be as clear to some of the attendees. A memo within 24 hours detailing the discussion, decisions arrived at, different strategies, responsibilities assigned, etc., would be a great place to start.