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How to Run a Meeting

Updated on March 6, 2008

Running a successful meeting takes practice, particularly if you are meeting with a diverse group of people who all have different ideas. As long as you create a plan for the meeting, with goals of what you need to achieve during the meeting time, you should be able to keep the group on task.

Prepare for Your Meeting

Know your purpose: Clarify the point of the meeting, and outline a set of goals you want to accomplish.

Appoint a meeting coordinator: You may very well be the one to coordinate the meeting; but, if the same group meets often, it might be a good training experience to allow other employees take turns running the meetings.

Prepare an Agenda: You need to create a plan for the meeting and put it down on paper. Provide copies of the agenda for everyone at the meeting. Following the agenda will help you stay on task, as well as ensure that you don’t forget to address anything.

Invite Relevant Employees: You don’t want to invite people to the meeting if they aren’t involved in the topics of the agenda.

The Agenda

A clear agenda is very important because it serves two purposes:

1. To keep the meeting on course, and

2. To serve as a record of what happened at the meeting.

You need to make sure the agenda clearly explains why you called the meeting, what should be accomplished during the meeting time, who will attend, and the time limit.

The Agenda

A clear agenda is very important because it serves two purposes:

1. To keep the meeting on course, and

2. To serve as a record of what happened at the meeting.

You need to make sure the agenda clearly explains why you called the meeting, what should be accomplished during the meeting time, who will attend, and the time limit.

Create your agenda with the following elements:

1. Start with a one-sentence statement of purpose and time limit.

2. Follow with a list of topics, prioritized in logical order.

3. Be sure the meeting deals with related topics. It wouldn’t make sense to have a meeting about planning an informational symposium, but have a topic on the agenda for holiday party planning.

Executing the Meeting

Your job as the meeting coordinator is to be prepared, keep things on track, make sure everyone contributes, and keep the focus on solutions instead of problems.

It is a good idea to have a white board or presentation pad available for brainstorming and planning. As the coordinator, you should keep the meeting focused by clarifying ideas. Be sure to give everyone an opportunity to provide input.

Stick to the schedule. Everyone at the meeting has other work waiting for them, so make sure you keep on topic and don’t go over the allotted time. The less digression that occurs, the more work you will get accomplished.

Wrap up the meeting by clearly stating what the next steps will be and who will be doing what. It is also a good idea to send out a post-meeting email or memo that covers everything accomplished during the meeting, with reminders of everyone’s tasks.

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    • profile image

      Kathiroo Rajan 

      10 years ago

      Hai,

      Really good for professionals who are conducting meetings.

      Bye,

      Rajan

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile imageAUTHOR

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      10 years ago from Seattle

      Whitney, it's true. When I was in college, I was involved in student government, and we took turns chairing meetings for the experience--that has really helped me in the workplace.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Great hub Stacie. Running a meeting is something that you have to get used to before you can get good at it. Problem is that most managers just keep doing the same old routines, never learning from their mistakes.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile imageAUTHOR

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      10 years ago from Seattle

      Hah! Me too, to tell the truth.

    • helpdeskian profile image

      helpdeskian 

      10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Nice Hub! I feel like printing this out and leaving it on my managers desk when she is not looking!

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