Effective meetings

Meetings are effective and efficient if:

  • The objectives and goals are known
  • The goals can be achieved
  • The meeting can be done with as little time
  • All the participants are satisfied

 
Within this article I want to give you some guidelines how to prepare and perform effective meetings. Therefore you will get some best practices for the different steps of a meeting, from the preparation to the follow up tasks.

 
Preparation

  • Prepare an agenda
    • The agenda must match with the needs, topics and expectations of the participant
    • So you should create the agenda by using the input of the participants
    • Define a starting date and time and a duration for the Meeting
  • Invite the participants
    • Invite people that are important for the success of the meeting and can make a significant contribution
    • Don’t invite people if they cannot make a contribution and should only be invited to get information about the meeting content (for this purpose you can send them the meeting notes after the meeting)
    • Send a timely invitation
    • Send the agenda
    • Send additional documents or information material which is needed to prepare for the meeting
  • Prepare methods and tools for decision findings
    • Think about the decision making methods you want to use (e.g. brainstorming, decision matrix)
    • Prepare the needed tools

 
Setting

  • The location must be pleasant and suitable for the number of participants
  • The meeting will begin on time

   

Start

  • Describe the topics and the goals of the meeting
  • Show the agenda and timelines

    

Execution

  • Always keep an eye on the agenda and the timelines
  • Everyone has the opportunity to show his viewpoint and represent his opinion
  • The participants listen to each other attentively
  • During the meeting, the achievements and decision done so far should be repeatedly briefly summarized
  • None of the participants should try to dominate the discussion
  • Each participant has a say in decisions
  • During the meeting, participants will have the opportunity to rate the shown ideas, possible solutions and alternatives

       
End

  • At the end of the meeting all decisions have to be summarized
  • Define all actions which have to be done as result of the meeting
  • Try to get the commitment from the participants to do these actions

     

Follow up tasks

  • Create the meeting notes
  • Create an action plan
  • Send meeting notes and task list to all participants and additional people which have to be informed
  • Keep an eye on the implementation of the tasks defined in the action plan
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