The Characteristics of effective meetings

Meetings that are effective and positive usually have the following characteristics:

Well organised

Agenda, punctual, well prepared, room booked, skilled chairperson, action plans/meeting notes/minutes accurate and circulated promptly, etc. There is nothing that people find more annoying than attending dis-organised meetings.

Short and to the point

Endeavour to keep the contents tight to maintain interest.

Relevant to the participants

People will understandably switch off if the topic is not relevant.

Everybody contributes fully

This is generally the responsibility of the chairperson. However, it also requires the right attitude from the other attendees.

People feel comfortable disagreeing

The chairperson has the prime responsibility for this by encouraging contributions and valuing those contributions. However, it also requires the appropriate attitude from other attendees.

Conflict is constructive and creative

Again primary responsibility for this lies with the chairperson and it can be achieved, but may take careful handling by the chairperson. The starting point is to stick to the topic in question.

Decisions are made and actions are planned

Meetings often require decisions to be made. Sometimes it is necessary to defer the decision to a specified later forum. Actions are essential, including setting the time and place for the next meeting.

The meeting itself is reviewed

Meetings can always be improved. It is often very beneficial to take 2 or 3 minutes to review how the meeting went with all the participants present, and any changes agreed so the next meeting can be more successful.

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