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How to Run Productive Meetings

Updated on April 8, 2011

steps to productive meetings

Time for the meeting, do chills run down your spine when you hear those words? Do you find yourself dreading the weekly staff meeting? Well if you are nodding your head as you read these questions, you are not alone.

A productive meeting can energize people and keep the team rolling and a poorly organized one can bring all meaningful work to a quiet halt.

I have been to more meetings than I can recount, some were so painful that it was all I could do to keep from jumping up, and screaming “I got to get the hell out of here.” Others, so focused and productive that the participants left feeling renewed and ready to tackle whatever came their way.

If you want to run effective and productive meetings take the following steps;

1- What is the purpose of this meeting, what are you planning to do. A clear purpose is central to success.

2- Start and end on time.

3- Speaking of time, 90 minutes is the maximum time most people can sit still and concentrate, after that attention spans wander as butts get sore.

4- Have an agenda.

5- Once it is accepted, stick to it.

6- Appoint a chair or facilitator to conduct the meeting

7- Make sure someone is taking minutes.

8- Value every voice but do not let anyone dominate the time.

9- If one does not exist create a contact list and see all participants give their coordinates.

10- Make it clear how the meeting will run, what is the voting procedure, will a speaker’s list be kept, rules of conduct and so on.

11- Use the last 5-10 minutes for new business, this will be indicated on the agenda and lets the participants know there is a place for them to share news.

12- Before adjournment, make sure the date, if necessary, for the next meeting is set.

13- Thank everyone for attending.

Perhaps, the most important point is being clear about why the meeting was necessary. What is its purpose and why are these people in the room. This is especially important when people have gathered for the first time on a new project. There can be considerable excitement when a project begins but this can fade if the process gets muddled down and the rational for getting together becomes murky.

While you want to have the meeting in the best location possible; for example, the room is big enough, the chairs are as comfortable as possible, there is a table and proper light, however, some of the best meetings I have attended and ran have been in basements sitting on old wooden chairs. Why were these meeting so productive. Everyone knew why they were there, there was an agenda that was followed and all present had a fair opportunity to speak.


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Happy you found these useful, thanks for the comment.

  • rpalulis profile image

    rpalulis 6 years ago from NY

    Thanks Bob, these are great tips to run an effective meeting. Purpose, agenda, length of time all great stuff.