Most people attend meetings, and most hate them. Studies show that poorly-run meetings cost companies billions of dollars each year. Meetings are supposed to be integral to productivity and collaboration, yet studies reveal that less than 50% of people spend in these meetings is considered productive. This is why everyone must learn how to improve their participation and design meetings well.


The key to effective meetings is having high participation, engaging conversations, constructive collaboration, and good energy. These kinds of meetings are designed to tap into the group’s expertise, energy, and wisdom. They are also valuable to both the meeting’s leader and the attendees. Meetings that stay on topic are very effective because they use people’s energy and time well.


The design of effective meetings is both art and science. The science is about taking the necessary steps to ensure that the meeting structure is designed to meet the needs of the participants. The art is about developing a plan that will make the meeting efficient and effective. In this article, we’ll talk about tools and techniques that will help you create effective and engaging meetings.


Be Specific

One of the most common things people need to correct when planning their meetings is creating an agenda. This is a serious mistake because it doesn’t clarify the meeting’s purpose.


Make a Plan

Before planning a meeting, you must clearly define the meeting’s purpose and objectives. This step will allow you to create an agenda that will be both effective and engaging. Having the necessary ideas and strategies will allow you to create a productive and creative meeting. Meetings are like a series of conversations that the participants must engage in to accomplish the goal.


One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to planning a meeting is the way that you conduct the conversations. Instead of waiting for everyone to join in, you should be able to utilize various techniques and tools to gather the wisdom of the group.


One of the most common techniques that people use is round robins, which allow them to gather the knowledge of the group. Other techniques include pair-shares, more complex conversation structures, and SWOT Analysis, which allows participants to identify strengths, weaknesses, and threats.


Before the meeting, create a meeting timeline based on the conversations you’re planning on facilitating. This will allow you to keep the meeting focused and short.


Keep the Meeting Small

One of the most common complaints about wasted meetings is not having the right people in the meeting room. This is because many organizations habitually include everyone in the meeting without the proper purpose.


Start Off Right

The way that the meeting is opened should determine how it will proceed. A weak opening can lead to confusion, disorder, and disorganization, while a strong one can set the meeting up for success. As a meeting leader, you must first take control of the meeting. It is your responsibility to set the tone for the meeting by ensuring that the participants feel competent and that you are doing well.


Define the Rules

A good meeting ground rules are designed to guide the participants and provide guidance on how to behave and interact in the meeting. These rules should be communicated and enforced to ensure the meeting goes off with a proper start.


The purpose of a good ground rule is to help guide the participants and prevent them from derailing the meeting. Having well-defined ground rules can also make the meeting more effective.


Manage the Meeting

As a meeting leader, you are responsible for preventing the meetings from going off without a proper start. You can also set the climate for engagement by discouraging unproductive discussion and encouraging productive behavior. Unfortunately, allowing the unchecked presence of these types of behaviors can lead to more unproductive activities.


Recap and Send Follow-Ups

One of the most common mistakes that meeting leaders make is not recording, sending follow-ups, and recaps on action items, important outcomes, and next steps. Because most meetings are designed to create work for the participants, you must ensure that all action items are understood and actionable. Every action item should be communicated and recorded. It should also be organized in three areas: 1) Clear deliverable; (2) Owner, and (3) Due date.


Although the meeting leader is usually responsible for forwarding action items, she should also make sure that follow-up happens. One of the most effective ways to do this is by sending follow-up memos, emails, and other reminders. Sometimes it is a good idea to schedule a check-in meeting to review the participants’ progress. This can help keep the meeting on track and ensure that the participants get the necessary work done.


After the meeting, you must take the time to celebrate the success of the meeting. In addition to thanking the participants for their participation, you should also thank the people who helped make the meeting happen. This can be done by showing your appreciation for their time and efforts.