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How to Run an Effective Meeting

Meetings are an essential part of running a successful business. They offer a place for staff to plan, make decisions, problem solve or come up with new ideas. More importantly, they offer a mechanism for your staff to gather as a unified team pursuing common goals. The following few simple tips will help your next meeting run more smoothly and be more effective.

Provide advance notice

Providing appropriate advance notice is the first step in planning an effective meeting. Prior announcement provides your employees with the time they need for scheduling. Even more, it provides them with the time they need to prepare and make their attendance worthwhile.

Have an agenda

An agenda is another essential ingredient for an effective meeting. An agenda serves as a guide for the meeting length and the order in which topics will be discussed. However, preparing agenda is only half the battle. You'll also need to adhere to the agenda in order for your meeting to progress smoothly and effectively. If possible, distribute the agenda at the same time you announce the meeting. This will give your employees all the time they need to review the subject matter and prepare accordingly.

Insure you have adequate meeting space

Plan to meet in a room that has all the equipment and space you need for a comfortable meeting environment. Make sure there is enough seating and table space for all meeting members. Verify ahead of time that all essential AV equipment is at the meeting site and know how to use the equipment prior to the meeting. This will save time, but more importantly, it will save you the embarrassment of working out "technical difficulties" in front of the entire group.

Start on time

Your time is important. It's important for your employees, too. Begin the meeting on time, every time. This demonstrates that you respect your employees' time and that they respect yours, as well. Also, starting on time indicates that you are serious about keeping the time schedule listed in the agenda.

Take minutes

Have someone keep an accurate record of what is said during the meeting. Minutes provide documentation of what is discussed and serves as a reference tool for any follow-up that may need to be taken. It's also a good idea to provide a copy of the minutes to all who attended in addition to those who did not make it to the meeting.

End with a summary

Finally, summarize the points that are covered during the meeting and what course of action, if any, needs to be taken as a result. A summary solidifies the main focus of the meeting while at the same time laying out the ideas and plans that need to be addressed in future meetings.