5 Ways to Make Every Meeting as Effective as Possible

Follow these 5 steps to ensure that every meeting you lead is productive and engaging for all participants.

An employee at a meeting with his laptop in front of him.
An employee at a meeting with his laptop in front of him.
Headway via Splash

1) Try not to have meetings

This may seem contradictory to the purpose of this article but it is in fact essential to the point that is being made.

2) Determine the objective of the meeting before the meeting

Before you can see if a meeting can be replaced by an email, you must decide on what the purpose of the meeting is. If the meeting’s purpose is to decide where to go for a team lunch, that can be replaced by a quick Slack poll. If it’s instead to go through the Q1 results, an in-person meeting would serve better.

3) Create a meeting template that participants fill

In the same meeting invite, include the shared document that has the meeting template in the invite as well.

  • Analyze the previous day/week. This applies to daily stand-ups or weekly run-throughs. In order to ensure that an organization constantly improves is to look back at its strengths and weaknesses and revise. This should be done after the ice-breaker as that is when the information is most prevalent; the moment current and future organizational points are discussed, previous days/weeks are left behind. In addition, in order to make current and future organizational discussion productive, there needs to be an analysis of the previous day/week to iterate. Including a roundtable discussion where all members of the group are encouraged to speak and share promotes an environment of comfort that brings about the most information discussed.
  • Team member updates. Create a table for members to input any updates they have that pertain to the meeting and go through each member one by one. This generates inclusivity and briefs the other members on what the members are doing.
  • Discuss the meeting objective. This is the meat of the meeting and should take the majority of the time. The objective was outlined by the meeting title, now it is time to discuss it. There are a few ways to go about this. The meeting leader can discuss what the objective’s content is if it is a meeting that is to share information with participants. The objective can also be discussed by having participants throw-in their ideas and suggestions into the template, creating a laissez-faire meeting structure.
  • Future steps. Following the discussion of the objective and having members share their thoughts, it is imperative to end the meeting with roles and responsibilities for each participant, even if it is something that does not change. This serves as a reminder for the participants as well as allows other members to know who to connect with for any inquiry on a specific subject.

Designate roles

It is of the essence to designate at least 2 roles per meeting.

  • Note-taker. Although the template described above is shared with all members to allow for contributions my everyone, there are moments where the discussion will be based around verbal communication which can become burdensome for each member to write down their points. In order to prevent this, a designated note-taker allows for members to freely discuss and the note-taker to write the most pertinent points being shared. This is not to say that the note-taker cannot contribute, their moment of discussion can be written by another member.

Follow a strict schedule

The biggest complaint with meetings across the board is the timeliness of them.

I write about entrepreneurship, technology, data science, sports, and attempted comedy | CS + Econ @ UVA ’20 | Subscribe to unifiedawareness.landen.co

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store