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How to Hold Effective Meetings

Meetings are held to provide information, obtain information, brainstorm, reach consensus, and have face-to-face communication. To hold effective meetings, there are several key suggestions to follow.

Prior to the meeting:
  • Identify the purpose of the meeting. Determine what you want to achieve. Be clear on the intended outcome.
  • Develop an agenda around this purpose. Include key staff in developing the agenda.
  • Ask only for the amount of time you need to discuss the agenda. This will focus attention on the task.
  • Reserve a room appropriate to the size of the group.
  • Invite only the staff necessary to move the agenda forward.
  • Give the participants the support material and agenda in advance. If it is not clear why someone is being invited, indicate the purpose of his/her attendance in the support materials.
During the meeting:
  • Start and end the meeting on time. Latecomers will understand your intention to hold to the agenda and meeting schedule. If the meeting will go over the allotted time, request permission from participants.
  • If not already clear, identify who will run the meeting and who will take notes. The note taker should be asked to monitor time.
  • Begin the meeting by stating the purpose. Comments and presentations should stay focused. The chair should request that unrelated subjects be completed off-line.Invite input and encourage responses.
  • When you have reached a consensus or made a decision move to define next steps, determine who will complete each step, and give deadlines. Ask each person assigned to commit to his/her tasks.
  • Ask the note taker to document each action step, the assigned staff, and the deadline.
Follow up:
  • Send out meeting minutes no later than 24 hours after the meeting. Include action steps, assigned staff, and the deadline for each.
  • Send out reminders to assigned staff as deadlines approach.
  • Once a task is completed, acknowledge with thanks and circulate the completed report on each task to all who attended.
  • Define any follow-up meeting with an agenda.

Learning Tips to Hold Effective Meetings

Meetings are wonderful tools for communicating with staff members, generating ideas, expanding on thoughts, and managing group activity. However, face-to-face contact with team members and colleagues can easily fail without adequate preparation and leadership. The article, Running Effective Meetings, is a helpful tool in meeting the objective, using time wisely, and satisfying meeting participants.

If you don’t prepare for a meeting, someone else will control it. If you have something important to say, you might not get the chance to share it. Robert Pagliarini provides his tips on effective meetings in Nine Tips to Control Every Meeting and Get What You Want.

If you have every found yourself in a meeting that has gone awry; check out these tips from the Harvard Business Review blog on Stealth Meeting Facilitation from the Rank-and-File provides information about Workshops including running effective meetings.

How to Hold Effective Meetings by Phone

Teleconferences require additional protocols as outlined by Steve Kaye, in the article, Effective Meetings by Phone.

Clear Meeting Goals

Productive, valuable, and engaging meetings require a clear goal, an open dialog, and a strong leader. The article, How to Run an Effective Meeting, found on BNET by Cyrus Farivar provides insight into how to make your meetings matter.

Tips on Using PowerPoint

This resource, Using PowerPoint, by Susan Tapert, Ph.D., provides the basics in creating PowerPoint presentation including using font, color, capitalization, text, and animation.

How to Organize a Paper or PowerPoint Presentation

A model for organizing a paper or PowerPoint presentation is provided in Organizing a Paper or Lecture by Jean-Joel Villierk, M.D. and Susan Tapert, Ph.D. This resource addresses literature review, taking notes, creating an outline, developing a draft, and documenting references.

Communicating through Emails

This article by, Writing Effective Emails, identifies strategies to make sure email messages are read and acted upon.

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