6 Steps To Effective Meetings

So You Don't Waste People's Time

You’ve probably walked out of a meeting before thinking, “That was a waste of my time.”  The meeting either ran too long or lacked purpose.  You feel robbed of something precious.  Your time.

Meetings are not easy to run.  They take preparation and purpose.  Before you ask for people’s time you need to have a desired outcome.  To reach that desired outcome you need to:


Believe it or not some meetings are unnecessary.  What you want to discuss can be resolved over the phone, via email or online chat.  To figure out whether to have the meeting ask the questions:

  • What do I want them to know?
  • What is supposed to look different after we meet?
  • How else can my agenda be communicated?

Be creative and use the technology that is around you.  Change the way people meet so that you can protect their time.


If you struggle with running a meeting find someone else to run it.  Believe or not there are people talented at running a meeting.  Sit down with them ahead of time to go over the purpose and desired outcome.

Allow them to facilitate so that you can participate or observe.  Just because you are the leader doesn’t mean you need to run the meeting.  Give yourself the opportunity to be a part of the experience.


An agenda gives you a path to stay efficient.  It will allow you to know how much time to spend on a certain subject.  Create your agenda ahead of time, run it by some people and then write it out with start and end times.


To make sure you stick to your promise have someone keep time.  They can make sure you are moving through the agenda at the rate you dictated.

They should give you a 5 minute warning so that you can wrap up.  If you stick to your time frame (Or end early) people will learn to trust you more.


Meetings can feel like a good reason to get together and socialize.  If you are running a staff meeting you might want to make sure you deflect those opportunities to before or after you meet.

When meeting with volunteers or a group of people who don’t see each other often you’ll want to designate specific time for everyone to catch up.  This will cut down on tangents and distractions during the time you are supposed to problem solve.


Gratitude shows people on your team that you appreciate the sacrifice.  Your gratitude can be shown by:

  • Feeding them.
  • Providing a giveaway.
  • Simply thanking them.

When they know that you appreciate them, they’ll look forward to the time you spend together.

Your meetings don’t have to be a waste of time.  Put in the preparation ahead of time so that when people gather they are glad to see you and they are ready to take on the agenda.

Question:  What makes a meeting worth your time?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.