Meeting Preparation Tips: How to Run Effective Meetings

Adriana Girdler

Tried and true tips that ensure productive meetings Are you new to meeting facilitation and want to know how to ensure every meeting achieves maximum …

Tried and true tips that ensure productive meetings

Are you new to meeting facilitation and want to know how to ensure every meeting achieves maximum productivity? Or, have you facilitated meetings before but want to know how to take them to the next level?

I have facilitated hundreds (if not thousands) of meetings and over the years. I’ve come to understand which elements are crucial to the success of a meeting. When you prepare the right way, I can guarantee that every single meeting you run will be efficient and effective.

It all comes down to a few key elements that will make or break your meeting.

Define meeting type & purpose

The first thing you need to do while preparing for a meeting is define the meeting type. What kind of meeting are you going to have? For example, it could be a brainstorming session, decision making session or an update session (which I don’t recommend, because update sessions tend to waste time and stop people from working on more productive tasks). Figuring out the type of meeting will help you define the purpose so that everyone has a clear understanding of meeting objectives.

It’s important to try to stick with one meeting type. If you have two types to one meeting, that’s okay, but don’t try to do too much at once and overwhelm everyone.

Who should attend the meeting?

If you’ve figured out purpose, then figuring out who’s invited should naturally fall into place. The point is to understand who you need to invite (and be specific). Don’t over-invite just for the sake of being nice. There are other techniques you can use to keep people in the loop without making them waste their time at a meeting they don’t really need to be at.

Create a clear agenda

If you’re the only person leading the meeting, sending a last-minute agenda can be acceptable as long as you’ve defined the meeting type and purpose so that everyone understands the importance and objectives of the meeting. However, if you need other people to lead, you must give the agenda at least 24-48 hours in advance.

Think thoroughly about everything on your agenda. Ensure you associate times with every element of it so that you’re certain you can get through everything on the agenda within the allotted meeting time.

Additional meeting preparation tips

These aren’t the only important things to think about before running a meeting. There are some key things you need to know about sending pre-reads and preparing yourself before the meeting. I’ve created a video that goes through all these tips in detail in just a few minutes. So, please don’t stop here! Head over to YouTube so that you can find out how to take your meetings to the next level.


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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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