Holding effective meetings - checklist

Holding effective meetings - checklistBadly planned and run meetings can be a real waste of company time. Read our tips on using your valuable meeting time efficiently.

  • Identify the meeting objectives - for example, to discuss issues and make decisions, to brainstorm ideas or to motivate the team.
  • Decide who needs to be present and why.
  • Arrange a date, time and place. Make any administrative arrangements including organising the venue, refreshments and, if necessary, a secretary for the meeting.
  • Set the agenda, with a clear objective for each item; note who will lead the discussion of each item.
  • Prepare a timetable, allocating time for each item. Consider separate, shorter meetings if there is too much to cover in a reasonable time.
  • Circulate the agenda and any supporting papers as early as possible.
  • Prepare: if necessary, discuss sensitive issues or agree your approach with key participants before the meeting.
  • Start the meeting on time, welcome participants and make introductions; explain the timetable and administrative arrangements (eg breaks).
  • Introduce each agenda item in turn in a balanced, positive fashion.
  • Control the discussion. Encourage quiet participants, and restrain attempts to dominate the discussion or to raise unrelated topics.
  • Give your own views after other participants; summarise the discussion.
  • If appropriate, agree a decision; clarify responsibilities and deadlines for any action points.
  • Stick to the timetable. Be prepared to hold over topics for further discussion at a later date if necessary.
  • Address any non-agenda items which have arisen; discuss them at the end of the meeting if appropriate, or agree to postpone them.
  • Reiterate the main points and thank participants to end the meeting.
  • Circulate minutes of the discussions and action points agreed to all participants and others affected as soon as possible; monitor subsequent progress.

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