Tips for Effective Meetings

Infographic - effective meeting tips

A touchy subject – meetings! Who hasn’t wasted MUCH more than 2 hours a week sitting in on meetings you didn’t need to be part of, or one without an agenda that rambled on and on without any clear goals, started late, and ended even later… bad meetings suck precious time from everyone’s week, so start correcting them today.

Simple, effective tips to better meetings!

Perhaps this should be printed and displayed in every meeting room. And as I have said before, before even scheduling a meeting, decide if a meeting is even necessary in the first place. And only invite the people who NEED to be there.

  • Have an agenda.
  • Arrive a few minutes early.
  • Start, and end, on time, no matter who hasn’t arrived yet.
  • Come ready, have all of your needed materials and data WITH you.
  • Don’t answer emails or callsย duringย the meeting.
  • Bring something to take notes with. And take notes!
  • Stay on topic and don’t needlessly interrupt. This causes the discussion to take longer than necessary.
  • Follow up on needed items within 24 hours.

There! Isn’t that better? Instead of a waste of time, you have reached a goal.

Infographic - effective meetings

Source:ย Tips for Running Effective Meetings infographic

141 Comments

  • there are a number of contradictory thoughts in the graphic – all valid – but really dependant on what the meeting is trying to achieve – who is in it etc – so might be better graphically delivered as a flow chart rather than an implicit – this is how you do meetings’ ….

    and pen and paper in a meeting = no – my iPad – yes.

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    • The goals of the meeting certainly do a tremendous effect on how they should be run! Great point. As for pen and paper – in my mind, i ‘see’ my iPad as my pen and paper, especially give the great notetaking apps that are available. I think you may have given me an idea for my next blog post ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • As well as an agenda I’d say have a really clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Is it to communicate information, gather input, evaluate options, make a decision, present a report, brainstorm, smooth out problems, confront someone, reward someone etc.. Without a clear idea of what you want to do you’ll never know if you did it or not.

    Also, second tip, stop when the meeting is finished, don’t drag on. People’s time is valuable and they appreciate it when you recognize that.

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  • Great infographic — the only time I can cope with meetings is when an outcome is required; otherwise it’s just a gabfest.

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  • Very interesting topic, it is indeed a touchy matter…I like the way you talk about it!

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  • We all have limits to our attention spans, often times a series of short meetings is preferable to a long, drawn out, all day affair.

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  • Renee….. a great reminder for everyone who runs meetings. I particularly like your third point about starting on time. When we don’t, we are sending a subliminal message that the people who are late are more important than the ones who have made an effort to be there on time.

    And the Infographic is terrific. I am going to pin that on my Pinterest page. Well done!

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    • Thanks Dan! And letting everyone know that you will wait to begin just gives attendees the idea that they don’t need to be on time either, so then meetings get later and later each time as people straggle in one by one.

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  • Keep up the great work Renee, Waiting time in a boring meeting is not pleasant for anyone. And it produces nothing but resentment.

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  • Thanks Renee. A lot of useful tips that I’ll put in practice starting tomorrow.

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  • My Issues with meetings are not about staring on time but ending! Everything is fine… received the email 24 hours, started the meeting on time… but never end it on time. I think some of them think that prolonging a scheduled meeting to a longer period adds value to the group.

    Also, the top management think that they can be distracted with attending calls or emails while the meeting goes on.

    You are right, every meeting room need to print it BOLD and hang it on the wall

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    • Thanks Sunish! The never-ending meeting is painful. Especially when you know you have another meeting to get to and work to do in-between. I thinks sometimes the leders of the meetings just aren’t respectful enough of the attendees time. But a nice sign in the meeting room would help ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I think I should have included the sermon-meeting here! If all the leader is going to do is talk AT people, they could have just send an email instead of calling a meeting ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for adding that one!

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  • Very good and useful tips. Every one have to reduce waisting time on this kind of meeting.

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  • Excellent advice, Renee ! Some meetings seem to have far too much wasted time. Sometimes a casual approach can be friendly, but I think it’s best to keep the ‘business’ portion of a meeting on-track, and leave some time for socialising at the end rather than have a sloppy meeting.

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    • Exactly Mark! Get the business done efficiently, and you might even have time left over if people want to socialize ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • I’m glad that you placed “agenda” at the top of your list. Also, remind people to make it available well in advance of the meeting and let attendees know if they can request changes and additions before the meeting. Set a deadline for them and republish the agenda before the meeting begins. Email allows us to be very flexible in this regard. Then stick to the agenda. Let me repeat that: STICK TO THE AGENDA!

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    • In order to end the meeting on time, it might be prudent to allocate time to each agenda item.

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    • Thanks jack! sticking to the agenda cannot be repeated enough! it’s no good to have one if the meeting organizer allows people to wander off track

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