Monday, October 09, 2006


Tips for Effective Meetings

Planning the Meeting
  • Whenever possible do not meet!
    - Meetings are time consuming, so decide whether a meeting is the best way to handle the issues/topics?
  • Define the purpose of the meeting
    - Write down a clear goal and desired outcomes
    - Decide who should attend based on the desired outcomes
  • Keep meetings short
    - Do not allow meetings to overrun
    - If there is unfinished business, schedule for another time
  • Always issue a meeting notification
    - Give attendees sufficient notice to enable them to prepare any relevant material
    - State the place and time for meeting
    - State the duration of the meeting
    - Confirm attendees acceptance
  • Always distribute an agenda to attendees before the meeting takes place
    - Meeting objectives
    - List of discussion topics
    - Place highest priority items first on agenda
    - Provide attendees with any required background information
  • Make sure that speakers are prepared for the meeting
    - Unprepared speakers will contribute little
  • A meeting should have an owner or chairperson
    - The chairperson should open the meeting by describing the meeting objectives and expected outcome of the meeting
    - The chairperson should ensure speakers adhere to the agenda and time allocated
  • Make sure that speakers are prepared for the meeting
    - Unprepared speakers will contribute little
  • Make sure the facilities are prepared for the meeting
    - Arrange any audio-visual equipment or materials in advance. Arrive early to set up and make sure everything is ready to use

Running the Meeting

  • Start the meeting on time
    - Do not wait for latecomers
  • Start the meeting by reviewing the meeting agenda and objectives
    - Begin by introducing anyone who is not known to the other attendees
  • Appoint someone reliable to take minutes
    - Ensure that the minutes are accurate
    - If it is not recorded it probably will not happen
  • Stick to the agenda
    - Maintain focus, keep the discussion on track
    - Summarise conclusions or decisions as each agenda item is completed
    - Non-agenda issues/topics should be noted and discussed in the last 5 minutes of the meeting, and if unresolved, tabled for another meeting.
  • Assign action items
    - Identify and assign any action items to specific people with completion dates
  • Explicitly close the meeting
    - Before closing the meeting determine if the objectives were met
    - Request comment from all attendees, and enter into the minutes
    - Chairperson should provide a concise summary of the meeting’s outcome
    - Issues/topics requiring further discussion should be noted
  • End the meeting on time
    - Often people will have other scheduled work to go to
  • Minutes should be published and made available to all attendees

Meeting Follow up

  • Communicate the meeting’s decisions to those who are affected by them
  • Make sure copies of the minutes are distributed
  • Remind people what they agreed to do


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