Better Meetings

How to Run More Effective Meetings

Meetings. We all have them, and we all know they can either be hugely productive or a complete waste of time. Running an effective meeting takes thought and preparation, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn proven strategies for keeping your meetings focused, engaging, and results-driven.

Set a Clear Objective

Before you schedule a meeting, think about what you want to accomplish. Do you need to make a decision? Generate ideas? Plan a project? Align on goals? Knowing the purpose will allow you to craft an agenda that supports it. Share the objective in the meeting invite so attendees come prepared.

Send an Agenda in Advance

Nothing kills productivity faster than meeting attendees who aren’t on the same page. Send a detailed agenda at least 24 hours in advance so everyone can review the topics and prepare. Include background info or documents related to agenda items so people can brush up. List the objective at the top as a reminder.

Start and End on Time

We’ve all been in those meetings that drag on with no end in sight. Respect people’s time by starting and ending when you said you would. If the conversation runs over, table outstanding items for follow-up. Your attendees will thank you.

Encourage Participation

The best meetings tap into the collective wisdom in the room. Solicit input from quieter team members. Set ground rules that support psychological safety and divergent thinking. Have attendees briefly share their perspectives before diving into problem-solving. The richest ideas emerge through dialogue.

Take Notes and Assign Action Items

It’s hard to keep track of everything discussed in a meeting. Instead of trying to take notes yourself or designating someone to take notes, consider new AI tools like Supernormal. Supernormal takes detailed notes complete with a transcript, summary, and action items and can automatically share them with meeting participants afterwards, keeping everyone aligned on what happened and what they need to do after.

Keep the Energy Up

Let’s be honest—meetings can be draining, especially longer ones. Counter mental fatigue by getting people up and moving periodically. Brainstorm whiteboard exercises, role playing activities and quick stretches are great energizers. Laughter and fun are proven to boost engagement, so incorporate humour when you can.

Continuously Improve

Like anything, running effective meetings takes practice. At the end of each gathering, have attendees share pluses and deltas—what went well and what could be improved next time. Regularly evaluate what meeting practices drive outcomes and which ones feel like a waste of time. Refine your approach based on feedback and observation.

Running a tight, productive meeting may seem daunting but gets much easier with preparation and experience. Follow these tips to get started on the right foot or fine-tune your existing process. With each meeting, you’ll build skills and confidence to bring this critical activity to the next level. The collective brain trust and potential in the room is simply too valuable to squander. Time to make your meetings work for you!

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