Taking Charge of Meetings ~ its about planning, presentation and people

“Sometimes I get the feeling that the two biggest challenges business owners face are, making ends meet and making meetings end.” – Heidi Richards Mooney


Meetings, meetings, meetings. Sometimes it seems that have our work day is spent either in a meeting or on our way to one. I am not talking about meetings where you are building relationships (such as networking events). I am talking about those meetings you have attended that you know before even going will likely be a total waste of time?  Perhaps you have even hosted a meeting that left you feeling that very little was accomplished.

In my humble opinion, (and speaking from personal experience), most meetings are poorly run and huge time wasters.  Busy people don’t want to spend  two hours listening to reports.  Busy people want to get things done, make decisions and move on.

So I thought I’d share some of the “tips” I’ve learned to help you make the most of meetings.

1.      Only call a meeting when it is the absolute best-way to accomplish your objectives. Think about alternative ways to get things done, phone calls, e-mail etc.

2.      Always have an agenda.  A written agenda lets participants know what are the objectives of the meeting.  Items to include are date, time and location  of the meeting; purpose of the meeting; and agenda items (listed in order of importance).  I generally put items requiring immediate decision at the top of the agenda. It lets people know the importance of their attendance. It is also a good idea to allot a specific amount of time for discussion of each item listed. Distribution of the agenda ahead of time helps participants do their part better.

3.      Take control of the meeting. Don’t allow discussion of unnecessary items until all agenda items are covered. Keeping the meeting moving forward shows respect of those people who would like to stick to the schedule.

4.      Start and end your meetings on time.  All meetings should have designated starting and endings times.  Meetings that start late and run over destroy productivity.  Attention wanes and stress rises when meetings run over. Reward productivity by ending early.

5.      Meetings need closure. Do a brief recap at the end of the meeting, reinforcing what is expected of participants as they move forward.  If someone has been given an assignment or volunteered to complete one, mention it at the end.  Everyone should know who’s responsible for what and how results will be communicated.

6.      In most cases, early morning meetings are best.  People are more awake, not thinking about what their day was like. They are more apt to focus and the chances of participants arriving on time improve.

7.      Make sure the meeting is absolutely necessary. Meetings are not a good investment of time if they don’t fulfill your objectives.

Heidi Richards Mooney is an Author, Business Coach and Serial Entrepreneur. She has run 5 businesses, more than a dozen business associations and speaks on entrepreneurial success in the new economy.  She is a social media expert and her latest book, Quirky Marketing ~ 365 Ways to Promote Your Business Using Zany and Non-traditional Holidays is in it’s 3rd printing.