10 Tips for Running Effective Meetings

Running meetings can be a daunting task. There are so many things to think about – from the agenda to keeping everyone on track. It’s easy for meetings to spiral out of control and become unproductive. In this post, we’ll give you 10 tips for effective meeting management that are essential for running meetings that are productive and efficient.

Top down view of meeting with laptops and papers

What makes a successful meeting?

Before we get into the tips, let’s take a look at what makes a successful meeting. A successful meeting is productive and achieves its goals. This means that everyone in attendance should be clear on what the objectives of the meeting are and how they will be achieved.

Now that we know what makes a successful meeting, let’s take a look at some tips for managing them effectively, and go over some effective meeting strategies.

Tip #01: Decide on the meeting format

Before you can start managing meetings effectively, you need to decide on the format. There are a few different options:

-Regular meeting: This is a recurring meeting that takes place at the same time and date each week/month/etc.

-One-time meeting: This is a meeting that only happens once.

-Virtual meeting: This is a meeting that takes place online, typically through video conferencing software.

-Telephone conferencing: This is a meeting that takes place over the phone.

Once you’ve decided on the format, make sure everyone in attendance knows about it. This includes making sure everyone has the necessary tools to participate (Accounts for online services, Location details, etc.).

Tip #02: Set a meeting agenda and stick to it

One of the best ways to ensure a meeting is productive is to set an agenda and stick to it. This means that everyone knows what will be discussed and there are no surprises. It also helps to keep meetings short and focused.

The meeting agenda should include:

  • The objectives of the meeting
  • The time frame
  • Location
  • Any relevant documents or materials

Book with "Agenda" written on it

Tip #03: Keep meetings short and focused

As we mentioned earlier, one way to make sure meetings are productive is to keep them short and focused. This means that you should only discuss the objectives of the meeting and nothing else. If there are other topics that need to be discussed, schedule a separate meeting for those topics.

Lengthy off-topic discussions can be a major distraction and can easily lead to unproductive meetings.

Tip #04: Make sure everyone is on the same page

Before meetings, it’s important to ensure everyone is on the same page. This means briefing everyone on the objectives of the meeting and what will be discussed. This also includes ensuring that all attendees have read any relevant material ahead of time.

The agenda should have already prepared everyone for the topics that will be discussed, but it’s always a good idea to recap what was talked about at the end of the meeting.

Close up of hands, two people wearing suits explaining with paper

Tip #05: Start and end meetings on time

It’s important to start and end meetings on time. This helps ensure that all meeting participants have enough time to attend the meeting and that meetings don’t run over schedule. It also shows respect for everyone’s time.

Meetings that run over schedule can be a major inconvenience and will cause meeting participants to be less engaged when the next meeting starts.

Close up of watch/clock hands

Tip #06: Keep a record of meetings

It can be helpful to keep a record of meetings, especially if you need to reference them later. This can be as simple as taking minutes or writing up a summary after the meeting is over.

Meeting minutes can be especially helpful if you need to refer back to them later to determine whether the meeting was productive or not.

Identifying successful meetings and meetings that need improvement can help you manage meetings more effectively in the future.

Diary with notes

Tip #07: Use visual aids

When possible, it can be helpful to use visual aids during meetings. This can help make meetings more engaging and easier to follow, especially if there is a lot of information to cover.

Avoid relying on PowerPoint presentations for presenting information directly. Instead, use charts, graphs, and other visuals to help illustrate your points.

Tip #08: Assign action items

At the end of every meeting, be sure to assign action items to specific attendees. Action items are tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the objectives of the meeting. This helps ensure that everyone is responsible for something and that meetings are productive.

Tip #09: Set reasonable ground rules

It’s helpful to set reasonable ground rules for meetings in order to maintain a productive environment. Some ground rules that can be helpful include:

  • No mobile phones or laptops
  • No side conversations
  • Give everyone space to speak
  • Arrive on time

Ground rules are important when meeting in person, but can apply outside of the conference room as well. A separate set of rules for virtual meetings can help participants stay organized and on track.

Tip #10: Encourage participation from all attendees

Finally, encouraging participation from all attendees is a great way to make sure meetings are productive. Giving everyone a chance to share their thoughts and ideas promotes active listening and open communication.

If team members feel like their voices are heard, they will be more likely to contribute valuable ideas to future meetings.

End of Meeting Recap:

Now that the meeting is coming to a close, take a few minutes to recap what was discussed. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that no important details were missed.

Be sure to follow up on action items in the next meeting, so that progress can be tracked and everyone involved can be satisfied with the results.

Effective meetings are essential for getting work done. By following these tips, hopefully, you’ll be able to manage meetings more effectively and achieve better results.

People out of focus having conversation during break

Looking to improve your meeting skills? Standout Academy offers online courses on a range of business skills, including Managing Meetings.