3 Tips to Run a Great Meeting

Author: Gina Hall | December 18, 2015

Meetings are an essential component of business. Communication within an organization works similarly to the way in which our bodies’ organs communicate through the use of the central nervous system. So too, the customer service department needs to be able to alert the C-suite officers when an emergency warrants such an alert.

Meetings are the most effective way that divisions within a company are able to communicate to each other and to leadership. Email and other communication technologies, rife with ambiguity and glitches, will never replace face-to-face contact. Estimates suggest that 20% of an employee’s time will be spent in meetings. That being the case, it should be considered crucial to make the most of that time, which means running meetings as efficiently as possible. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to run a successful meeting.

Create an Agenda

It’s important that everyone in the meeting understand why they are there and what will be discussed. Email an agenda in advance to the people who will be at the meeting, and explain each item that will be on the table and how much time is set aside to talk about it. Furthermore, it should be clear what result is sought on each topic: Is this something that will be voted on or just brainstormed? Or is it just information that is being passed on? Send an agenda that is no more than a half-page in length that explains the purpose of the meeting and what is expected to be accomplished.

Assign a Timer

Is there anything worse than a meeting that runs long, keeping people through lunch or after hours? It’s important to keep things moving and stay on track. By having a person whose role within the meeting is to ensure that the group doesn’t go off on a tangent or get bogged down in unimportant details, the meeting will go much smoother and the necessary items will be addressed. The person who acts as timer can jot down items that need to be addressed at a later time, and can assign others to follow up on matters that are not germane to the issue at hand.

Start on Time, Quit Early

If anyone is clear why they’re at the meeting, then there’s no reason it shouldn’t start on time. No one should be pouring coffee, telling stories or even taking a seat at the scheduled start time. There should be no explanation of why the meeting is taking place, as that should already be known. The meeting should begin right on time. One of the ways to ensure that that’s the case is by making it a policy to wrap other items up early. If you get into the habit of ending phone calls, work projects, even other meetings five minutes early, it makes it possible to get to the next item punctually.

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