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How to Host Effective Meetings - 10 TipsMeetings are universal to every office. Hosting meetings is also universally loathed in many offices, which makes learning how to host effective meetings so beneficial.

If you are the organizer and host of meetings, there is pressure to host effective meetings to help people feel they’re worth attending.

Therefore, to organize and host effective meetings, ask yourself these two questions:

  • First, what are some of the most common complaints people have about meetings, and
  • Secondly, what can I do to eliminate them?

Here are 10 tips on how to host meetings that are effective, productive and will garner kudos from your attendees.

  1. Determine the objective of the meeting.
    • In other words, don’t just have a meeting for the sake of meeting each week. My daughter had a boss in one of her Washington, D.C. jobs who would waltz in and say, “Well, does anyone have anything today?” You can imagine how attendees rolled their eyes after taking time from their busy day to be there!
    • So, think about what ideas or topics need to be discussed and action taken on.
    • Then, email an agenda several days in advance with the topics listed and who should attend.
    • Good preparation results in effective use of time.
  1. Determine who should attend. This is based on the objective and content of the meeting. Perhaps not everyone in the periphery needs to be there.
  2. As a rule, plan the meeting for mid-week versus Monday or Friday. On Mondays people are planning for and digging into their week’s projects; they’re wrapping up any loose ends from the prior week. Likewise, on Fridays, people are usually trying to bring closure to the week without adding new action items or follow-up from a Friday meeting.
  3. Determine the content of the agenda. When you send the calendar invite for the meeting, include background information and other details. As a result, attendees will see value and feel prepared to give input.
  4. Plan the shortest meeting possible. Based on the agenda, determine the appropriate time needed.  Don’t have 2-hour meeting if you only need one hour. Better yet, will thirty minutes work?
  5. Secure the best location for the meeting. Do you need a conference table for 12 or 20? A cramped, stuffy room is not conducive to productivity. Is the location convenient for most? Is there good natural light and a nice view? All these make for positive vibes. Also, depending on how casual you want to be, host the meeting outside or even have a “stand up” meeting. Often this change of environment—instead of the board room—increases creativity, enthusiasm and efficiency.
  6. Check the technology in the room.  Arrive early. Make sure the technology works for your slide deck before everyone files in. Have a check list of props and supplies. Do you need a white board, markers and name tents? Don’t forget the handout materials, water bottles and fresh coffee.
  7. Start the meeting on time; it sets an expectation for punctuality. Otherwise, if you wait for late comers, it disrespects those who are prompt. End on time, or even a few minutes early to respect everyone’s schedule.
  8. Encourage participation. When you send the agenda, identify areas where you want robust discussion. This encourages everyone to prepare ideas, input and possible solutions beforehand. Also, it helps alleviate only the more outspoken attendees or most influential persons being the sole participants. This also helps all attendees feel their time and input have value. Try to reach a consensus on decisions that require action.
  9. Lastly, summarize and end on time. Spend the last few minutes of the meeting summarizing action items. Identify who is assigned to each one. Send a follow-up email to attendees with action item details.

In short, good business etiquette includes how to host effective meetings. Use these 10 tips and when the meeting notice goes out, you now won’t hear audible groans when it pops into your team’s shared Outlook calendar.

You may also like to read: Meetings Etiquette – Top 4 Meeting Pet Peeves and How to Avoid Them.

Rachel Wagner is a licensed business etiquette consultant, trainer, speaker and one-on-one coach. Her Oklahoma-based business etiquette firm, Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol, provides business etiquette training and professional development for a variety of industries in Oklahoma and nationally. For more information, you may visit her website www.EtiquetteTrainer.com.