Tips for Running Efficient Meetings

We’ve got a lot of meetings going on for Hometown Pride, and we know you want them to be as productive as possible. Here are a few tips for running an efficient meeting!

  • Have an Agenda: Always have a clear agenda that outlines the topics to be discussed
  • Start on Time: Start meetings at the time stated on the agenda. Meetings that start on time end on time.
  • Time Limits: Include approximate time frames for each discussion item on the agenda, and stick to them.
  • Meeting leader: Each meeting needs a clear leader – someone who will make sure that the agenda is followed.
  • DO Interrupt: While we usually try our best NOT to interrupt people, when you are the meeting leader, sometimes you have to! It’s natural for conversations to get sidetracked, and it’s up to the meeting leader to get them back on track, even if that means (politely) interrupting.
  • Preparation: The meeting leader should sure to have the background information needed to make decisions during the meeting. Or, if other committee members are responsible for bringing the necessary information, the meeting leader should check with them in advance to make sure they are prepared.
  • “Parking Lot”: Inevitably, important ideas or topics will arise that are not on the agenda (or can not be resolved in the allotted time frame). These can sidetrack the meeting and keep you from completing your agenda. Keep a running list of those discussion items to put in the “parking lot” until later, and then make a plan at the end of the meeting for if/when you will address those (like putting it on the agenda for next time, forming a subcommittee, or resolving via e-mail).
  • Make sure people feel heard: If it seems like someone keeps repeating the same idea, it’s probably because they feel they haven’t been heard yet. The meeting leader should make sure to acknowledge the point, either by addressing it immediately, putting it in the “parking lot” for later, or even writing down people’s ideas somewhere visible, like a white board.
  • Follow up: When an item requires action, determine who will be responsible for that and include follow-up on the next meeting’s agenda.

What other tips would you add to this list?

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