Skip links

How to Start Meetings Effectively

Good meetings start before the first participant is invited. Preparation is the key to a meeting that is concise and effective – versus one that is simply a waste of everyone’s time.

Let’s define a good meeting: It starts on time; it ends on time. When everyone leaves the room, they know exactly what to do and by when. All questions, concerns and issues about the meeting’s objective were addressed, and work can begin immediately on achieving the mission set forth.

If you develop a reputation for holding effective meetings, you will find your staff ready and waiting in anticipation for your meetings. Otherwise, you will have to drag them away from their computers 10 minutes after the start time.

How do you get there? How do you start – and hold – an effective meeting?

It’s easy; just follow these four steps:

Determine the purpose for the meeting

Never a hold a meeting for meeting’s sake. Think of how much you pay each employee per hour. Now add up the cost of having those employees sit around the table, suspending their work for an hour (or two). You would better make good use of that time! The purpose of your meeting should be clearly stated to participants at the time they are invited.

Craft an agenda – and distribute it in advance

Stating the purpose of the meeting may not help it to run any smoother, though. Once you’ve established the goal of the meeting, craft an agenda that will cover the topics needed to achieve that goal. List those topics in a logical order on your agenda and distribute it in advance, particularly if you expect someone else to handle part of the meeting. Make no mistake, though; it’s helpful to everyone to receive an agenda prior to the meeting in order to digest the issues, formulate questions, and brainstorm possible solutions.

Be ready when the time comes

Arrange to be at the meeting site early. Have all materials you need with you, and prepare the room before participants arrive. This will cut down on distractions and create a favourable impression upon participants.

Being ready in advance applies to Internet and phone based meetings as well. Do not leave participants hanging on the line, waiting for you to arrive. Remember to set everything up ahead of time with the vendor you are using for your conference call or webinar. If it’s your first time using that vendor, do a dry run to avoid last minute glitches.

Open the meeting the right way

Start meetings on time, even if some participants are late. Briefly acknowledge latecomers if you need to, but keep disruptions to a minimum. Open by reminding participants of the meeting’s purpose and its expected length. Then give a brief run-through of the agenda before proceeding.

When you prepare for and open meetings using these four steps, you will see a difference immediately. It gives you – and the attendees – the ability to be more productive and efficient. It reduces meeting anxiety, too. Learn how to conduct effective meetings and you will get more done, more profitably.

If you are looking for a meeting room in Glasgow. Bizquarter is situated in the heart of the city centre. Our comfortable, spacious and modern rooms are an ideal space to satisfy your meeting room needs.

Each boardroom has its own iBoardTouch, webcam, Wi-Fi, internet access points and large whiteboard. Perfect for presentations, collaborative working and videoconferencing.

View and book online –