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Running Meetings

Partners' Network Blog

Running Meetings

Meetings can either be super productive, great time-wasters or every gyration in between.  What they are is usually determined by the person organizing and running the meeting.

Here are some tips for more effective meetings:

  • Create and distribute a specific agenda in advance so those needing to prepare will have enough time
  • Be prepared (yourself)
  • Ask for “new business” or off-agenda proposals to be provided to you in writing early enough so it could be added to the agenda
  • Decide if you will lead the meeting or facilitate discussions
  • Have some punch list items to lead with if a discussion doesn’t get started
  • Stay on topic – stick to agenda
  • If someone is off target, politely stop them, pointing out that what they are suggesting or discussing is not on the agenda and you can discuss with them after the meeting to determine if it belongs on a future agenda
  • Decide on your personal style of permitting discussions – can each person express their thoughts on an issue only once or twice, or as many times as they choose, only limited by being recognized by you.  In matters where everyone might want to express an opinion, go around the table with each person getting one chance for a limited period to provide their thoughts.  This will force them to be concise, clear and complete
  • Do not permit cross conversations
  • Start on time
  • Set an ending time and end on time
  • Do not interrupt the meeting to bring latecomers up to date
  • If assignments are given out, set due dates
  • If committees are organized, designate a chairperson
  • Set date for next meeting
  • Decide if you will run meeting like a dictator or following parliamentary rules – meetings called by a project manager will not necessarily follow parliamentary rules.  Not-for-Profit organization committee meetings will
  • Have a reasonable summary of Robert’s Rules of Order handy in case you need it

Keep in mind that the purpose of the meeting is to accomplish a specific goal. Anything discussed at the meeting that doesn’t lead toward that purpose is a waste of everyone’s time.

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