Management Articles


Ten Tips to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Meetings

By: Patti Hathaway

Patti Hathaway, Certified Speaking Professional and author of 3 books, is known as The CHANGE AGENT. Her most recent book is Untying the 'Nots' of Change Before You're Fit to be Tied. Patti works with organizations who want to make change work and with those organizations who want to change their customer service culture. Patti provides customized keynotes and workshops. Contact Patti at 1-800-339-0973 or at her web-site: for information on her speaking services or to receive her complimentary e-mail newsletter.

Guideline 1: Provide Specific Goals and Objectives for your Meeting

Practical Tips:

1) An agenda sent out prior to a meeting is critical! List your meeting objective (i.e. the purpose for the meeting) on the agenda.

2) Write out the preparation you would like the participants to do prior to the meeting. List it as the "Pre-Meeting Preparation". Include in that list the things/items you need participants to bring to the meeting.

3) Invite only those people who can contribute to the meeting.
Every person attending a meeting should be able to answer these key questions:
  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • How can I contribute? 

Guideline 2: Avoid the "Information Assumption" Trap

Practical Tips:

4) Avoid "lecture meetings". Is there a more efficient way to distribute certain information instead of calling a meeting?

5) Prepare Action Item Minutes.

6) Get participants actively involved in the meeting: time keeper, leading, facilitating, etc.

7) Have participants attend only for the time they are needed.
Guideline 3: The "Platinum Rule" of Meeting Success

Practical Tips:

8) Are your participants "big picture" or "detail" people? What format should be used in the project team's final report? What kind of meeting minutes will best meet the needs of your participants?

9) Start on time. Set an ending time on the meeting when scheduling the meeting. End on time.

10) Who said "Robert's Rules of Order" increases the effectiveness of meetings? Develop your own "Rules of the Road" to meet your specific group's objectives and needs.

© Copyright 1999 The CHANGE AGENT.

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