The Best Handful of Tips 41 – Chair a Better Meeting

The Best Handful of Tips 41 –

Chair a Better Meeting

Your reputation can depend on how well you run a meeting.

First ask yourself do you really need a meeting?  If you have good communication systems in place you will need few meetings.

Before you call a meeting answer several questions. “What type of meeting should we hold?” “What do we hope to achieve?” “Who can and will contribute?” “When is the best time and where is the best place to hold it?”

Meetings can be time wasters. If you really need a meeting they must be run well.

Before you plan a meeting remind yourself ; ‘What business are we really in and what are we trying to achieve?’   

The five best meeting tips

  1. Plan and prepare well

Before you call a meeting, decide what you would like to achieve.  

Prepare a shrewd agenda. All items on the agenda should be specific; ‘For a decision’ ; ‘For your information’; For action by….. ‘

The sequence of items is critical. Allow the meeting to warm up before you introduce important items. Save good news items until the end, so the meeting finishes on a ‘high note’.

Keep the number of participants small. The fewer people attending the easier it is to reach a consensus.

Only invite essential people who can make a worthwhile contribution. Make the most of the talent and the experience present.

  1. Timing is crucial

Meeting are expensive when you consider salaries of participants , travel costs and the loss of work time.

Always start on time regardless of numbers present. If you have to wait for people you always will. A good way to get people to attend early to put on tea/coffee or a treat ten minutes before you are due to start.

Keep the meeting focused on the agenda items at all time. Don’t get side tracked!

Once you have completed all the items on the agenda, or the allocated time is reached, close the meeting. Never go over your allocated time regardless of the items left on the agenda.

Keep meetings short. Do not run long meetings. Work expands to fill the time available. Let people get back to work as soon as possible.

There is an old saying: “A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost”.

  1. Add interest

Variety and humour make meetings more enjoyable.

Surprise your meetings with special events, such as a guest speaker.

Invite staff to make special presentations.

If appropriate, run a brainstorming session to come up with new ideas to solve a problem.

People must leave a meeting feeling they have made a contribution and it was time well spent. People want to be needed. Make the most to the talent and experience and give credit for good ideas.

  1. Good minutes can save you hours

Minutes are the record of the business of a meeting. They don’t have to be detailed but they are critical to get things done.

They should discreetly clarify trouble spots and formalise conclusions. If decisions are made they must be perfectly clear who does what and by when.

Agreed tasks must be recorded in the minutes and follow-up notes sent to the people involved. At the next meeting they should be briefly reviewed to see if all the tasks allocated have been completed on time.

  1. Improve each meeting

Constant evaluations are the key to successful meetings. Aim to make each meeting better than the last.

Invite feedback and act on all good recommendations.

Continuous improvement  is essential to run successful meetings and to enhance your reputation.  

-Geoffrey Moss

“The success of a meeting can only be judged by its results.”

SOURCE: For more on this topic see:  “Persuasive Ways” first published by Moss Associates Ltd, New Zealand and in Chinese by Shanghai People’s Publishing House and as “Secrets of Persuasion” by Cengage Learning Asia. (Available as an e-book from Also available as “Getting Your Ideas Across” from Kogan Page, U.K and a  Hungarian translation published by Bagolyvar Konyvkiado, Budapest.

Persuasive Ways (China) Cover


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