How often do you sit in a meeting wondering why you’re there, feeling frustrated because the meeting is obviously not achieving anything and wondering how it all went so wrong? Follow ground rules for effective meetings and you’ll never experience this sinking feeling again!


Effective meetings are deceptively simple, just follow our 5 ground rules for effective meetings:


  1. Start with the end in mind. When you’re planning your meeting start by considering what results you want from the meeting. Just focusing on the topic of the meeting is not enough, you need to know what decisions and outcomes you want from the meeting. This will set you up for success.


  1. Everyone must participate. Build a culture within your meetings that focuses on everyone contributing, adding value to the outcome. People should know, if you’re no contributing, you’re not adding value. But contributing is not just about talking, it’s about listening effectively too and building on what others have said. If you’re not sure how to become a better listener, then take the time to do some Google research. How to become a better listener starts with active listening and is one of the keys to effective meetings.


  1. Be willing to make decisions and move on. This is probably the most important of all the ground rules for effective meetings. Too often people know how to talk, but not how to make a decision. Help people make decisions by finding the common threads in people’s perspectives, creating consensus and summarizing the outcomes and next steps.


  1. Assign responsibility for next steps. Decisions are made, next steps are identified. Great, you’re on the way to having effective meetings! You also need to make sure the ‘who will do what’ is clearly agreed (and documented!). This should also include the timeframe for actions, and the date of the next meeting.


  1. Discuss what went well, and what could have been improved. Finally, take 5 minutes at the end of each meeting to discuss what went well and what could be improved. For truly effective meetings you need to work towards continuously improving your meetings. Spend a little time at the end of each meeting to look at the planning of the meeting and the running of the meeting, to identify what could have been done better. Then apply this learning to your next meeting!


Use these ground rules for effective meetings and you’ll soon be on the way to greater success!