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  • Writer's pictureCornelia Montague

Tips for leading effective meetings

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

A study conducted by MIT found that the average executive spends 23 hours per week in meetings.

Have this figure and the week’s priorities in mind when planning and make every meeting count. Ask yourself whether the information can be delivered just as effectively via email. If the answer is yes, send an email to invitees instead.

Meetings are effective when held with mindfulness and purpose.

Keep your workforce on task by respecting their time and following these tips for success when conducting meetings.


1. Mind the invite list. The purpose of any meeting is to obtain or provide information on a need to know basis. It is not a party. Only invite those whose input is required and those who need to be present. If you desire others attendance but it is not a requirement, ensure that such is stated and give them the option to decline.

2. Set a hard start and end time. Everyone’s time is valuable. Everyone is busy. It can be quite difficult for attendees to focus on anything other than the clock when they don’t know how long a meeting will take. Mitigate expectations for attendees by providing a timeline and sticking to it.

3. Create and stick to the agenda.

Always arrive with a written and clear agenda that is easy to understand by the lowest level attendee. Everyone in attendance should have a copy of the agenda whether the copy is printed, digitial, or displayed in open forum.

4. Keep chatter to a minimum. While it is ok to set the tone for a meeting with a humorous or relatable story, it is not ok to stray off-topic. Be appropriate and stay within the bounds of topic. As attendees provide input, steer the conversation to your points and respectfully discourage banter. 5. Avoid business buzzwords and jargon.

Be careful and selective when using buzzwords or jargon. Business jargon is often used to obstruct others, sound important, and as a way to impress others. Oftentimes, listeners can see through it. Instead of sounding important, you may have done the opposite- undermining your authority and credibility as a leader.

6. Call on people. Establish who is up next. Especially when in virtual meetings, it can be difficult to establish whose turn it is to take the floor. Be sure to conclude your points with a direct cue to let the next speaker know that is is ok for he or she to begin.

7. Encourage questions.

The only thing worse than a meeting you didn’t want to attend is having a meeting about the meeting you didn’t want to attend. Encourage questions from participants and never assume their level of understanding. Make sure that everyone leaves the meeting knowing more than they did upon arrival.

8. Clearly state the ending.

Do not linger or prolong activities. When the meeting is over, state it. Participants and attendees need the green light to leave and continue on with their schedules.

Practice these tips and watch respect, engagement, and productivity increase as a compliment to your gesture.

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