Running a great meeting

Shawnee Love   •  
May 1, 2015

One of the keys to running a great meeting is preparation which we discussed last week. If you have done the prep work, it is tempting to believe the meeting will tick along as planned without further help.  While it might, you will feel better knowing you did what you could to ensure the meeting ran smoothly.  To that end, here are our tips for hosting a great meeting:

  • Start on time. It shows respect for those who are there.  While it can be disruptive to have people coming in late, those latecomers will be more likely to show up on time the next time if they realize you won’t wait.
  • Clarify Purpose & Protocols: Remind participants of why you are there (the purpose), how much time you have, and any protocols you want to follow.  For example:
    • If you have rules for who has the floor, how to make decisions, motions and votes, varying from the agenda, etc. ensure everyone knows.
    • If you have specific types of etiquette, share them as well.  My particular favourite is to turn technology off- no smartphones, notebooks or laptops except for note taking.
  • Introductions: Ensure everyone in the room knows who is there and what their role is.
  • Be a strong Chair.  Keep things on track and on time with reminders, closers and openers for topics, and intervene when discussion reaches a stalemate or deteriorates into conflict or confusion.
  • Telegraph your next step: When closing the meeting, if there will be further meetings held, consider reminding everyone you will start on time as a pre-emptive strike against future lateness.
  • Finish on time. It also shows respect for the participants and doing what you say you will do means they will be more likely to accept your invites in the future.
  • Follow up.  If you want to encourage traction on whatever was decided or simply foster retention of the meeting content, send out a summary or minutes from the meeting to the participants.

There you have 7 of our best meeting tips.  Please comment as we’d love to hear yours as well.