Running effective meetings


What is a meeting?

A meeting is where people come together to resolve problems, answer questions, make decisions, network, and share knowledge.

What makes a meeting effective?

Effective meetings are the product of three simple steps:

Step I: Planning

  • Define the purpose, required outcomes, and approriate attendees,
  • Determine the best format to achieve the purpose. In some cases, you will discover that a conference call or email exchange is just as effective as face-to-face.

Step II: Conducting

1. Establish the following roles:

Role Responsibility
Chair Manages the content of the meeting, sets the agenda, and decides what, when, and how meeting tasks are accomplished.

In smaller meetings, a facilitator may not be necessary. However, their responsibilities are:

  • Respecting others' views
  • Speaking one at a time
  • Debating points of view - not personalities involved
  • Keeping comments brief and relevant
  • Encouraging participation
Reporter Records meeting minutes and reports outcomes.

2. Use the following process:

  1. Within the cultural norms, Be on time, start on time.
  2. Display and explain the agenda and desired outcomes.
  3. Remain focused on the agenda and outcomes during the meeting’s discussion. If needed, participants can be reminded of the outcomes to politely refocus off-the-subject discussions.
  4. Record decisions and assign responsibility for action items.

Step III: Concluding

  • Conclude the meeting by reviewing action items, highlighting positive outcomes, and asking for any final (brief) comments.
  • Thank participants for their time and contributions.
  • If required, schedule a time and venue for the next meeting.

meeting guidelines

Developed with input from MA Bell, AD Atkinson, and D Shires