10 Characteristics of Effective Meetings

Have you been in a meeting, sitting with eyes glazed over, and wondered, “What am I doing here? What is the purpose of this meeting?” The concept of the meeting in the workplace has become diluted and directionless, and employees tend to cringe at the very mention of this perceived time-waster.

Want to bring back the magic to your organization’s meetings? Here are ten fundamental concepts that characterize an effective meeting.

  1. Start with the definition.  A meeting is a business activity where select people gather to perform work that requires a team effort.
  2. A meeting, like any business event, succeeds when it is preceded by planning, characterized by focus, governed by structure, and controlled by a budget.
  3. Short meetings free people to work on the essential activities that represent the core of their jobs. In contrast, long meetings prevent people from working on critical tasks such as planning, communicating, and learning.
  4. Three things guarantee an unproductive meeting: poor planning, lack of appropriate process, and hostile culture. Effective leaders attend to all of these to create an effective meeting.
  5. Effective meetings require sharing control and making commitments.
  6. The ultimate goals of every meeting are agreements, decisions, or solutions. Meetings held for other reasons seldom produce anything of value.
  7. Unprepared participants will spend their time in the meeting preparing for the meeting.
  8. It is better to spend a little time preparing for solutions than to spend a lot of time fixing problems.
  9. Meetings are an investment of resources and time that should earn a profit.
  10. A meeting can be led from any chair in the room. And if it’s your meeting, you want it to be your chair.

How do your meetings compare to this list? What changes do you need to implement at your next meeting? Do you have any additional tips to make meetings effective? I welcome your feedback on this subject.


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