Leading a Great Meeting

Once I had a boss that started conducting team meetings because she thought she was suppose to have one.  

Many board chairs call meetings because the bylaws require the organization to meet at set intervals.  

Scheduling a meeting just to say you met is never a good idea. Meeting for a specific purpose, with set outcomes – most always a great idea.  

Often, agendas are late to arrive, team/board members aren’t sure how best to contribute and the meeting is filled with folks reciting their list of recently completed tasks.  Attendees leave the meeting not entirely sure the purpose of the meeting and even more overwhelmed.  

Here are a few things to help you have a great meeting. Because leaders, we can do better! 

Prepare an agenda in advance.  Not just a last minute list of items that come to your mind.  Meetings aren’t about regurgitating information.  You can do that via technology.  Meetings are for collaboration, idea generating, big question exploration.  Agendas allow attendees to know the purpose of the meeting and that the meeting actually has a purpose.  Agendas show you value attendees’ time and it allows attendees to come prepared.  If appropriate, make sure attendees have an opportunity to contribute to the agenda.  Your team has valuable insite, use it.  

Start on Time and End on Time.  Even if no one is in the room, set the expectation that the meeting will begin on time.  I guarantee the next time everyone will be in the room on time.  End on time, respect everyone’s time and end on time.  People need to know when they can get back to their workday, even if you are the boss.  And, don’t allow folks to come speak/report and then leave, it is rude. Of course things will happen, but make it the expectation that if someone wants to be heard – they also need to listen to others.  

Report Time verse Discussion Time.  Report time is not a time for folks to start a discussion.  It is when reports are given.  I prefer to have folks send in reports for team members to read on their own time and then just open the meeting report time for clarifying questions – not discussions.  Discussion time should be separate.  When discussion time begins, make sure your team sets norms so everyone feels comfortable participating.  

Team Time. If your team is new or doesn’t get together often, make sure you schedule some team building.  Folks that know each other tend to work better together. 

Meetings should be worth having or we shouldn’t have them. Time is valuable and not just figuratively.  Add up the salaries of everyone in the room for the amount of time you keep them in the meeting.  Are you getting that much value out of the meeting?  Or, are you being negligent with the organization’s money?    Something to ponder…

With Purpose,


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