Running an effective meeting is more than sending out a notice that your team is going to meet at a particular time and place. Effective meetings need structure and order. Without these elements they can go on forever and not accomplish anything. Here are some tips on how to achieve really productive meetings.

Define a clear goal! – Why are we having a meeting?

1) If you feel that you have nothing to say or discuss, then there is no point for a meeting just because you all had it planned. Too often, people call a meeting to discuss something without really considering what a good outcome would be. 

2) If you do plan to have a meeting, then you need to focus on your objective. The purpose of a meeting is to come up with solutions, not to discuss things that are not really priorities. Meetings should not be held to report things, but to do things. Discussing a problem only adds value if the discussion leads to solving the problem.

3) Delegate one person to take notes during the meeting.

Are we using our time in a meeting productively?

4) Definitely set the date, start and end time. Start the meeting on time! When you notice that time is running out for a particular item, consider hurrying the discussion, pushing to a decision, deferring discussion until another time.

5) There is no point to go to a meeting if you don’t know why you’re supposed to be there! In other words, find participants that are needed to be there and make sure that all of them are prepared. Ask the participants to come prepared with a viable solution. If you are discussing an ongoing project, have each participant summarize his or her progress to date and circulate the reports amongst members.

6) Provide updates on tasks from previous meeting(s). This helps you to be on track. Also, make notes for further topics for the next meeting.

7) Every task needs to be set to a certain person with the due date.

8) If certain people are dominating the conversation, make a point of asking others for their ideas. Also, feel free to stop someone from speaking too much.

9) At the end of each agenda item, quickly summarize what was said. Also in the end of the meeting, summarize all of your decisions. Evaluate the meeting’s effectiveness based on how well you met the objective. This will help you continue to improve your process of running effective meetings.

10) Make sure that the meeting will end on time! Of course, you might guess what helps you to do that : ) The Best Online Timer – Toggl!

References: Mind ToolsThe Happiness Project.