10 Essential Ingredients for Effective Meetings


In any large organization, there are dozens of meetings taking place every day. And at many of them, a few attendees will arrive ill-prepared, or the conversation will meander so that the meeting goes on longer than necessary.

What distinguishes an effective meeting from one that’s largely a waste of time? Refer to this list of essential ingredients for a successful meeting to help ensure your next meeting is effectively planned, designed and executed.

1. Purpose

Clearly define why the meeting is being held so everyone knows why they are there.

2. Time Frame

Manage to the time allotted. A timekeeper could help keep things moving along.

3. Context

Consider any organizational issues that could impact the meeting, such as a lack of resources or the need to update attendees who are new to the topic.

4. Stakeholder Assessment

Determine what is important to the attendees so that you can plan the meeting from their point of view.

5. Outcomes

Decide what end results, decisions or plans should come about as a result of the meeting.

6. Topics

What needs to be addressed during the meeting? Plan an agenda that directs participants toward the desired outcomes.

7. Attendees and Roles

Spend some time thinking about who needs to attend and what role each person might play. Enlist someone to take notes so you can have a record of the discussion.

8. Room Arrangement

Set up the room to facilitate the most participation. A square- or u-shaped table arrangement may encourage discussion.

9. Detailed Agenda

Decide a lineup of specific meeting topics and how much time should be allotted to each.

10. Pre-work

If there are materials that would enhance a discussion, distribute them to participants in advance.

Effective leaders get the most out of their meetings by planning for time well spent. Learn more in this blog post from Dardis Communications about Roles that Successful Meeting Facilitators Must Play.