Jacky Leonard's blog

Archive entries for: Sep-2015

Managing meetings to maximise results

Categories:  Effective Communication, Being on purpose, Sport and Leisure

“A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.”

  • Do you think meetings are a waste of time and money? 

  • Have you been asked to attend a meeting and wondered why you’re there?

  • Perhaps you have to chair them and feel you’re not making the best use of everyone’s time?

Meetings are a vital tool for management and communication.  If run properly they save time, increase motivation, productivity, and solve problems. Meetings can provide a forum for generating new ideas and initiatives, tackling challenges and achieving buy-in from colleagues and clients.  They diffuse conflict in a way that emails and memos cannot and allow the meaning and feeling of the situation to be conveyed through facial expression and non-verbal signals. Effective meetings can help you manage your team and achieve your objectives quicker, easier and at less cost. However, badly run meetings waste time, money, resources, and are worse than having no meetings at all.

Here are my top 5 tips to help you run more productive meetings:

1. People who aim at nothing seldom miss the target

Make sure you identify your outcome.  Decide the purpose of the meeting.  If you don’t have an outcome, what’s the point in holding a meeting?  If you have a reason for holding one, first decide the issues for inclusion and their relative priority, importance and urgency.  Every meeting and every item must have a purpose.

2. Prior planning prevents particularly poor performance

Whenever possible, especially with meetings which occur on a regular basis, agree dates for the whole year at the first meeting so everyone can commit them to their diaries; then circulate and publish the dates as soon as possible.  It isn’t easy to gather people for meetings, particularly if they’re from different departments or organisations, or in the case of volunteers, have other priorities. So before setting meeting dates remember to consider other people’s commitments and planned events so you can select dates that cause minimum disruption for all concerned.

3. Decide who needs to be there

Remember the more people you invite the longer the meeting is likely to take; and decisions may be more difficult to achieve.  Only invite those who genuinely need to be there. Bring in ‘experts’ only when needed and ensure they leave when they have made their contribution.

4. Be confident, comfortable and in control

A skilled facilitator or Chairperson will remain objective about the issues discussed and will ensure all ideas are heard and properly considered, whilst keeping the meeting on track.  The key to your success as a chairperson is keeping control. Stick to the agenda, manage the relationships and personalities, and focus on the outcomes and you won’t go far wrong.    Remind yourself and the group of the required outcomes and steer the proceedings towards making progress.

5. Right place, right time

Venue choice can be critical for certain sensitive meetings and far less so for routine, in-house gatherings. It is your responsibility to check the environment suits your meeting’s needs.  Never leave it to chance; be clear about your requirements and double check your booking in advance, a few days before the meeting and before you start.  Remember if anything goes wrong your credibility will be in question. 

And here’s an additional one for luck…

Follow the basic rules:

  • use an agenda as a planning tool

  • circulate the agenda in advance

  • during the meeting - keep control, agree outcomes, actions and responsibilities, take notes

  • produce and circulate minutes promptly

  • follow up agreed actions and responsibilities


If however, you’re like me and prefer to experience your learning with others.  I’m running Managing meetings to maximise results workshops in partnership with CIMSPA over the next few months.  Here are the ones scheduled so far:

10 November  2015     Wolverhampton

02 December 2015       Bedford

Whether you’re involved in attending or arranging meetings, this 1 day workshop identifies the best and worst aspects of meetings and explores how you can maximise your results and get the most from them. Using practical tools, models and learning activities you’ll discover how to make meetings more productive and enjoyable, explore how to manage challenging behaviour in order to get the best from everyone who attends and develop a strategy to ensure you achieve the best return on your investment.

For specific details on venues, times and cost just follow this link to the CIMSPA website http://bit.ly/cimspaevents and book your place.

I hope to see you soon.