Meetings can either be effective, or a HUGE waste of time. And in the experience of most, the tendency leans toward the latter. The reasons for this vary widely, but instead of speculating about why meetings are ineffective, let’s lay out a plan for making them effective. And if you get a bad taste in your mouth when you even see the word “meeting”, remember that they are necessary in many situations and they CAN be an effective and powerful tool for accomplishing a lot!

Meeting Planning:

1. Create a POP

  • Purpose of the meeting
  • Outcomes needed
  • Plan for our time

2. Choose the best method

  • Who is needed at the meeting?
  • Do we really need a meeting?

3. Send out agenda and pre-reading in advance

  • Agenda should be time specific to what has been requested for each topic
  • Agenda should be prioritized based on importance
  • Agenda items should be delineated based on either of the following:
  • Decision needed
  • Input requested OR
  • Information update

Facilitation Management:

1. Use Guiding Principles to keep the meeting moving.

These may include:

  • All participate
  • Challenge ideas instead of individuals
  • Start on time/ Stop on time (SOT/SOT)
  • One conversation at a time
  • Confidentiality
  • Evaluate the meeting

2. Set meeting roles

  • Facilitator: objectively leads meeting
  • Scribe: note actions and decisions on flip chart
  • Note Taker: records decisions and actions to share
  • Timekeeper: monitors time and focuses group
  • Parking Lot Keeper: makes notes of anything that is off track but important to review at a later date


  • Check In
  • Follow Agenda: Time keeper should require people to end the discussion to be handled via a different means
  • Allow clarification questions only during presentation
  • Meeting Evaluation: How did we do in accomplishing our stated POP?