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Effective Meeting Practices

by Mr. Victor Sassone


The secret to improving meeting effectiveness and efficiency is to treat meetings as processes and not events. An important part of having productive meetings is to use only those tools and techniques you need to do the job. Keep this in mind as you plan each meeting in your organization.

STEP 1. PREPARE FOR THE MEETING Why have you called the meeting? Could you accomplish the same purpose without a meeting? Who should attend the meeting? What topics will be covered?

STEP 2. CONDUCT THE MEETING What are the meeting participants' responsibilities? How can you keep the meeting on track and productive? How do you deal with meeting problems? How do you follow up on action items?

STEP 3. EVALUATE THE MEETING How do you know if you had a good meeting? What can you do to improve your meetings?



Establish the Objectives:

Determine the Attendees:

Assign Individual Roles:

Leader: Establishes meeting objectives and plans, and is responsible for the overall direction of the meeting.

Timekeeper: Assists the leader in managing the actual meeting by monitoring time and the use of agreed-upon procedures and rules, and keeping the meeting moving along.

Recorder/Coordinator: Keeps track of and distributes vital information from the meeting; such as minutes, data, and reports. The recorder/coordinator may help with meeting logistics.

Participants: Apply their skills, talents, and experience to the task at hand. Participants are responsible for generating ideas, analyzing information, making decisions, and implementing action plans.

Build the Agenda:

Agenda Contents:

Agenda Items: There are standard agenda items to be included in every meeting:

Set the Meeting:

Confirm Logistics: If this is a standing meeting, the logistics are already defined. If not, finalize the meeting date, start time, duration and location. In general, limit meetings to 45 to 90 minutes. Determine A/V and other equipment needs and what other materials and/or information is required. Should any material be sent out ahead of time?

Distribute the Agenda: If thisis a standing meeting, the agenda should have been determined at the last meeting. If this is not a standing meeting, distribute the agenda in advance of the meeting. Distribute the agenda no more than several weeks, and no less than two days before the meeting.

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STEP 2. Conduct The Meeting

The leader can use productive questions to:

Phrasing Questions:

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STEP 3. Evaluate The Meeting

Continuous improvement of the meeting process requires that meetings are evaluated and process improvements are made. Ask each participant to list what went well (+'s) and what could be done differently (+'s) to improve future meetings. Record the comments to prepare for future meetings.

Characteristics of Efficient and Effective Meetings

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About the author

Mr. Victor Sassone

Mr. Victor Sassone (USA)

Victor Sassone is the principal of the Northlake Consulting Group and Co-President of Spectrum Leadership, LLC, both Dallas-based consulting and training firms Previously Vic spent twenty years in various managerial and technical positions in the IBM Corporation. Mr. Sassone is a partner of the Hogan Center for Performance Excellence.


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