8 Elements of Running Productive Meetings

One hallmark of effective leaders is their ability to run productive meetings, a.k.a meetings that connect people and ideas and are informative.

To ensure your meetings make a team even more cohesive and produce action items to further a program or project, here is a checklist to keep you on track:

1. Clear objective: make sure your meeting has one or two goals, and that all attendees are informed of them.

2. Circulate an agenda: to keep a meeting focused, share an agenda so attendees know what to expect and how they can contribute.

3. Discuss new items: don’t rehash old business or topics if everyone is already well-versed in them; focus on new topics that are forward-looking.

4. Stick to the agenda: it can be hard to keep discussions on focused, so if a conversation veers off onto a new topic, offer to discuss it offline, after the meeting.

5. Keep your eye on the clock: be respectful of everyone’s time by starting and stopping your meetings on time.

6. Encourage interaction: ask for and encourage questions, comments, and ideas throughout the meeting to keep everyone involved.

7. Avoid being repetitive: share a thought or idea once, and move on. If a meeting attendee keeps repeating himself, gently cut him off to move on to the next topic.  If someone arrives late, don’t repeat everything they missed; instead, offer to bring them up to speed after the meeting.

8. Confirm action items: before the meeting adjourns, briefly review all action items, who is responsible for them, and when they are due.  In doing so, you will be reminding attendees that their time was well spent.

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