10 ways to make meetings effective…


I go to staff meetings, team meetings, planning meetings… but I’m sure these suggestions apply to all sorts of meetings in different settings.

1. Come prepared, so that you have something to contribute.

2. Talk more about what can be done that about what can’t.

3. Be creative. Suggest ideas that haven’t been tried before.

4. Don’t complain about anything that you can’t offer at least one solution for.

5. Get to the point. Stay on the point.

6. Don’t keep mentioning how little time you have.

7. Listen at least as much as you talk.

8. Be open to more than one point of view (your own).

9.  Make it clear. Be sure everyone gets it.

10. Be ready to change your mind, your opinion, your usual way of doing things.

11 thoughts on “10 ways to make meetings effective…

  1. @ Edna, great suggestions. I think meetings everywhere must have the same sorts of issues!

    An issue that has come up for me in the past is that the same topics are discussed over and over for multiple weeks! I’m the type of person who likes to discuss something, make a decision, do it then reflect. Some people seem to have trouble getting past the discussion stage which really gets you no where.

    I think the most frustration arises in meetings where people keep diverting from the agenda or dominating the discussions. As you mentioned, negativity is also extremely frustrating.

    Meetings can be so production but also so time wasting. If people followed your tips I’m sure there would be more of the former and less of the latter!


  2. Good points!

    I’d like to add my own observations if I may. As an engineer I’ve been to too many meetings of various kinds. The outcomes were frequently chairman-dependent. A good chairman will direct the proceedings and keep them focused and timely, but will always have an intuitive feel for which items can be usefully expanded upon, moved to side meetings, postponed or dropped. He/she will shut up the witterers, kick the snorers, and elicit info from the diffident. For most meetings an agenda is vital well before, as is a report immediately after. Take notes and, if necessary, use a secretary and a voice recorder. Finish on time and don’t forget tea and choccie biscuits and time to reflect!


  3. Meetings can be daunting, but if you go in with a positive attitude, then they can indeed be quite productive and enjoyable. I go to all sorts of meetings, and I love the professional dialogue that can happen in meetings. Sharing ideas, being inspired, taking risks together.


  4. An excellent, concise list that should be atthe top of every meeting agenda. I especially like number 4. How often do you hear, “I don’t have the answer BUT..”. So much meeting time is dealt with whingeing about this, that and every other thing by people who do not offer anything in the way of a solution!


  5. Three additional thoughts on productive meetings:
    1. Do you really need a meeting for the particular issue you’re meeting about?
    2. Do you have the right people at the meeting?
    3. Do you have the needed information for discussion/decision?


  6. Hey, Edna, great ideas. I have a related story. I recently used a tool (http://nextup.info) to project a meeting agenda on screen so all could see. NextUp allowed me to set a time limit for each item on the agenda. I made my agenda very detailed and was amazed at how well it kept us on task. Folks really engaged, we stayed on task, and people left energized and interested in my use of tech. Win, win, WIN! I was working with a group of teachers and several asked me to demonstrate the tool again so they could use it later. My meeting wasn’t about instructional technology, but it lead to some great conversations about integrating technology and instructional time management.


  7. Thanks for your list! I particularly like: “Don’t complain about anything that you can’t offer at least one solution for.” My father a former Marine was a strong supporter of this when I was growing up.

    I might add…only invite the people who really need to be at the meeting. American culture in particular tends to be very inclusive. We don’t want anyone to feel left out and end up inviting everyone and their mother. Each person should fee like their presence is absolutely crucial to the meeting.


  8. A great list. Like Jessica I often really enjoy meeting when deep collegiate conversation flows and directions are formed. So I would like to also add – meetings are not necessary to convey administration information. We have the tools to spread notices – meeting time is precious lets use it wisely.


  9. I am sending these tips to all who are ever engaged in a meeting with me! If we all followed these rules the result would be meaningful meetings that moved us forward and caused change.


  10. A really good book on this is from ASCD “Leading Effective Meetings, Teams, and Work Groups in Districts and Schools”, it has a lot of good ideas that are innovative.


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