How To Run A Meeting Effectively

Is there attention given to how to run a meeting effectively in your business? Unfortunately poor meeting practices are all too common.

Most businesses do not fully appreciate the waste involved, in terms of people's time and productivity, that arises from poor meeting etiquette.

For your next meeting, work out the wage cost involved of having attendees around the table - it will surprise you.

lost time due to ineffective meetings

Top 20 reasons for meeting failure

Here are the most common causes of meeting failure. Take a mental note of the ones that you need to correct (if any) in the way you plan and conduct your meetings:

  1. Not studying distributed material in advance
  2. Aim of meeting is unclear
  3. Meeting starts late/runs over time
  4. Agenda not followed and minutes not taken
  5. No decisions agreed and/or written down
  6. One agenda item takes over most of meeting
  7. Too many items on the agenda
  8. Poor room layout, distractions, technical problems
  9. Poor heating, ventilation and noise control
  10. Uninterested, unruly, disruptive participants
  11. Key people absent
  12. People invited when presence is not required
  13. Vital information missing
  14. Control of meeting taken over by one participant
  15. No clear responsibility for chairperson/secretary/timekeeper roles
  16. Chairperson does not involve everyone/takes sides
  17. Interruptions from external people/mobiles
  18. Poorly paced meetings
  19. No breaks when needed to bring meeting back on track
  20. Meeting minutes not distributed

What if people don't turn up to my meetings?

If meetings are called and people do not attend, it is likely that some or all of the pitfalls listed above have happened in the past. All too often, people lose respect for meetings if they are not handled properly, and avoid them where possible. So work towards eliminating bad practices.

In addition, look at ways to make your meetings more enjoyable. Simple practices such as bringing sweets or soft drinks can make all the difference.

What it the biggest obstacle to productive meetings?

The main reason poor meeting etiquette is tolerated is a lack of commitment to change. If only a few people make the effort to change, then their resolve can quickly disappear if others do not support them.

So take a strategic approach. Who are the people with power and influence in your business, that can make change happen? Often it is those at the top level that need to take the first step.

Highlight the savings in time and money that can be made if key players follow the basic rules of how to run a meeting. With time and persistence, meeting pitfalls can become a thing of the past.

Give business meetings the attention they deserve, and get them working for you in a focused, productive manner.


Share your experience - what works and (what doesn't) when it comes to conducting meetings?

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