Strategies for Conducting an Effective Meeting

We have meetings with clients and new business prospects several times a week. Sometimes we meet in person and other times on a conference call. We know our clients are busy and the demands on their time are great.

To get the maximum value out of the time we spend in meetings, we’ve developed the following strategies for conducting an effective meeting. Following it has increased our productivity and decreased the amount of time we spend in meetings. Try it for yourself and watch what happens.

Strategies for Conducting an Effective Meeting

1. Schedule the meeting with plenty of advance notice

  • People have busy schedules, advance notice assures they can schedule and be there

2. Conduct the meeting away from distractions and interruptions

  • Ringing phones, people chattering in the background diverts people’s attention and their ability to focus

3. Have a written purpose for your meeting 

  • The purpose should be a broad statement that tells people what your overall goal is for the meeting

4. Have a written intended result for your meeting

  • This should include the specific outcome/s to be achieved before the meeting is concluded

5. Have a written agenda

  • Clearly list each items to be covered during the meeting
  • Give the agenda, Purpose and Intended Result to everyone attending
  • Invite them to add any relevant items they want to include
  • If it is a large meeting give the agenda to the key participants only
  • If someone adds something to the agenda that is not on purpose, ask that person to plan another meeting where the item can be addressed

6. Allow enough time to cover all agenda items

  • Having to rush because a 1-hour meeting should have been scheduled for 90 minutes will leave people confused and incomplete

7. The person who calls for the meeting is responsible for the agenda

  • Stick to the agenda, avoid getting side-tracked
  • If you see that you’re off the agenda, acknowledge it to the people you’re meeting with and return to the next item

8. Always move the conversation forward

  • Look for and acknowledge people’s contributions that build upon the agenda
  • Getting side-tracked or stuck on a point stops any momentum you’ve built up and drains energy from the meeting

9. Listen powerfully to what each person has to say

  • Powerful listening brings out peoples creativity

10. Take notes on what people agree to do, ask them for a date by when they will do it

  • When people give you a time by when something will be completed, they are giving you their word and making a promise that they will do it
  • When people give you their word that they will do something, it enables you to hold them to account to do what they said they were going to do
  • It allows them to hold you to account for what you said you would do
  • Putting a task in a timeframe also allows it to stay in existence, if a task is not put in time it will either disappear or never get done
  • Agree on next steps and schedule the next meeting