How to Run an Effective Meeting

They’re draining. They’re boring. They’re time wasters. Meetings that don’t get anything done rank in the top pet peeves of all office employees. So how do we hit the mark with every meeting?

Don’t have a meeting

If it can be communicated properly with a simple email or phone call, there is no reason to pull people away from their professional focus. Evaluate the need to have a meeting on a situational-basis and use your best judgement.

No one leads the meeting

Leading a meeting by calling for suggestions or asking people to speak up is a poor approach. Direct and facilitate discussion around important points amongst your coworkers. Levelling the table makes the room more apt to contribute and it saves the formality for a different audience.

Have a loose agenda

This doesn’t just mean what you want to talk about. The most productive and engaging meetings are discussion and conversation based. Start with a general list of conversations you want to touch on in the meeting and start with your contribution. Be sure to send out the topics ahead of time so others can come prepared.

Keep it small

In the interest of cutting the irrelevancy from meetings, only require the people that are necessary to be present for the conversation. Everyone else in attendance is a bonus. Don’t forget to keep the time commitment small too- meetings should be no longer than an hour if there are more than three topics that need to be covered by the group.

Incorporate wellness

Before you get started, do a mild expression exercise with the group. One way is to have everyone list their high point of the day and low point. Getting the heavy thoughts out into the open will allow the individual to focus on the tasks at hand.

Don’t have a paper agenda

Sending out the agenda ahead of time saves you paper, but also allows people to come prepared with what they’ll need for the meeting. Providing a paper agenda can also be a waste if people take notes on electronic devices. Not having the prop of a paper agenda also increases engagement with what is being said and not just what is written on the paper.


Goals, Deadlines, Follow up. Everyone in the room should leave the meeting with a goal and a by-when date for that goal. Follow up every meeting with a recap email of the discussions, goals, and deadlines in the interest of keeping everyone on-task and communicating the purpose of the meeting even after it’s over.

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