25 Tips for effective meetings

25 Tips for effective meetings

25 Tips for effective meetings

Anyone who meets daily or weekly knows well: too long meetings are not effective. Minutes or hours pass without clear agreements being made. People are actually talking about talking.

Do you recognize yourself in this and do you think it is time for a change? We have collected 25 tips that are easy to apply to every meeting. This allows you to meet purposefully and effectively.

  1. Time of the meeting

What is the best time for a meeting? We recommend you to schedule a meeting just before lunch or at the end of the day. Why? These are the times when people are the most to-the-point. Just before lunch, people get hungry and want to finish the meeting in order to have lunch, which means that they act faster. At the end of the day, people want to go home and it’s the same story. Starting a meeting at 9:00 AM is often a problem because people may be in a traffic jam or busy peak and therefore come later. Combining a meeting with lunch is perhaps even better, so that there is room for a break.

  1. Start on time

Meetings often start later because, for example, a quick coffee has to be obtained. Make sure you start on time and “reward” those present who do arrive on time. Time and commitment are key at every meeting!

  1. Only meet if this is really necessary

Meetings are often scheduled as standard, but is there really something to discuss? Determine this well in advance. Don’t meet to ‘meet’, because that is a waste of time. Your year-end closing and / or quarterly meeting is of course always an excellent meeting time.

  1. Who is the chairman?

Decide in advance who the chairman is. Choose someone who provides structure and can interrupt when a subject takes too long. This person is responsible for time management and the meeting.

  1. Who is the minutes secretary?

Just like the chairman, it’s important to appoint someone to take minutes of the meeting with all the agreements that are made. With that, agreements are clear and you can always fall back on the minutes afterwards.

  1. Prepare well

Proper preparation is important, because it allows you to manage how the meeting will run. Ask the participants a few hours in advance if there are any topics that need to be discussed. As chairman, dive into the topics on the agenda.

  1. Ensure a good and clear agenda

Make a clear agenda prior to the meeting. An agenda provides a structure that you can fall back on. Reserve sufficient time for each agenda item. Send the agenda in advance before the meeting starts, so that the rest can prepare.

  1. No questions before closure of meeting

Meetings are often started or ended with a question from each participant, but this is not necessary. By asking about agenda items in advance, you prevent that these questions will take to much time and you will keep the structure and efficiency off the meeting.

  1. Prioritize agenda items

Receive all agenda items? Then prioritize them. If there is not enough time to discuss all points, priority was given to the most important points.

  1. Time management

Good timing is very important at a meeting. So keep a close eye on the time. Set a time for each agenda item and also put this on the agenda. Because of this, everyone knows how long a topic can last and you can interrupt if a discussion is taking to long. Does a subject really take too long? Read the following tip.

  1. Discuss agenda items in subgroups

When there are many important topics to discuss, you can have the topics discussed in subgroups. This saves you a lot of time and the points are picked up by people who are directly involved with it.

  1. Get everything ready

Make sure that all facilities are ready for the meeting. Does the screen work? Are there flip overs? Are there pens and notepads available? With this preparation you prevent that the meeting is starting later. Tip: Check this infographic for all the requirements for a meeting.

  1. Ensure a good change process

A clear change process provides structure, so that everyone knows where he or she stands. Make clear agreements in advance in order to manage expectations.

  1. Create a safe environment

If everyone feels safe, you can have a better and more effective meeting. Participants become offensive or silent if they do not feel safe. This does not benefit the meeting. Let everyone talk and respect the opinion and input of another.

  1. Record all decisions: short and to the point

It’s the task of the minutes secretary to formulate all decisions clearly and short. Send these minutes straight after the meeting so that everyone can read them again.

  1. Ensure proper follow-up of decisions

Has a topic been discussed? Appoint a person who will pick this up and record this in the minutes. By linking someone to an agenda item, you are sure of a good follow-up and you prevent that subjects will be forgotten.

  1. Park long-standing conflicts

Is there an intense discussion about a topic? As chairman, intervene and decide to pick it up later again. Schedule a second meeting for this. A smaller group will participate in this meeting, who will be directly involved.

  1. To-the-point and not a social gathering

Agree beforehand that the meeting is for the specific agenda items and not to socialize. For example, schedule Friday afternoon drinks to discuss the week with each other. This preserves the concentration and makes the meeting much more effective.

  1. Move in between

Does a meeting last longer than 1.5 hours? Then it’s good to take a break now and then, so that everyone can stretch their legs and can visit to toilet.

  1. Catering (such as coffee and snacks)

By organize enough coffee, tea, water and snacks on the table, you prevent participants from running away in the meantime for coffee, etc. The break (tip 19) is really meant to go to the toilet or to take a walk.

  1. Arrange the perfect location

A good meeting location is essential for effective meetings. Provide a meeting room that inspires, has enough light and is equipped with all conveniences. It’s good sometimes to meet outside your office. By getting out of the routine of always the same meeting room, you provide inspiration and creativity.

  1. Go outside

If the meeting lasts for half a day, it is good to go outside in between. Taking a breath of fresh air and stretching the legs provides peace of mind.

  1. Combine a meeting with lunch

Food is the fuel on which you think, process, develop and innovate. A tasty, healthy lunch in between ensures that everyone can continue the meeting in good spirits. Especially at long meetings, or meetings with a heavy character, a lunch break is definitely a good idea.

  1. Evaluate

When the meeting is completed, it’s good to ask for feedback. Does everyone know how everyone is expected to act? Has the meeting met expectations? When you ask these questions, it’s good to look at the facial expressions of the participants. Even though people nod “yes,” their facial expression can still tell a lot.

  1. Close the intensive, long meeting well

Had a long meeting or brainstorming session? After a quarterly closing or annual closing meeting, it’s a good idea to ‘let off steam’. Organize afterwards a drink or dinner. If you book a meeting location in Amsterdam, for example, you can go into the city afterwards. In addition, a drink, lunch or dinner can often be organized for you on location. That is a big advantage of meeting outside the door!

  1. Bonus tip!

Ready for a change and are you going to apply the above tips for your upcoming meeting? Ask the participants afterwards what they think of this way of meeting. Were there still any things that could have been more effective or did it really go well? Then this feedback will help you to improve the next meeting. This means you can meet more and more effectively!

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