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10 Rules for Hosting an Effective Meeting

Updated: May 31


Meetings are often perceived as necessary wastes of time. While this might be a light-hearted remark, it can reflect a genuine sentiment among employees. If meetings are seen this way, they can negatively impact company culture and become a dreaded part of the workday.


To address this issue and improve the effectiveness of your meetings, it's essential to adopt a set of structured guidelines. By doing so, you can transform your meetings into productive and valuable sessions, enhancing the overall efficiency and morale within your organization.


By following these guidelines, you can avoid wasting time and enhance the effectiveness of your future meetings, shaping a positive perception of your business among participants.


Here are 10 rules to host an effective meeting:


  1. Purposeful Meetings: Avoid holding meetings for tasks that can be accomplished through emails or other means of communication.

  2. Limit Attendees: Limit the number of attendees to under ten. Large groups make it challenging for everyone to be heard, and participants may feel less engaged and more likely to lose focus.

  3. Clear Agenda: Always have a well-defined agenda and stick to it to keep the meeting focused and on track.

  4. Pre-Meeting Preparation: Clearly outline any pre-meeting work and assign tasks to individuals if necessary.

  5. Parking Lot: Establish a "parking lot" for topics that arise but are not on the agenda. These topics can be important but are not urgent for discussion during the meeting. Review them after the meeting to ensure all relevant issues are addressed.

  6. Complaints with Solutions: Require that every complaint be accompanied by a proposed solution, or place it in the parking lot for later discussion.

  7. Encourage Participation: Ensure that all participants have a chance to speak and contribute to the discussion.

  8. Respect Time: Recognize the value of your employees' time. Ensure meeting hosts understand the cost to the business of keeping everyone away from their primary tasks. Hosts should believe that the meeting's value justifies the investment.

  9. Eliminate Hierarchy: Encourage open communication, allow ideas and input from all levels of the organization, not just from managers. For example, if a meeting is focused on improving customer experience and frontline employees have valuable insights, give them a platform to share directly. This approach boosts morale and provides unique perspectives that may not arise from management alone.

  10. Time Management: To maximize productivity and minimize stress, aim to keep meetings under thirty minutes. Assign tasks outside of the meeting to minimize interruptions to job duties. If a meeting must exceed thirty minutes, ensure there are breaks for attendees to check messages and attend to their responsibilities. Consider hosting standing meetings to keep them efficient and focused.


While these rules may seem extensive, they are vital for achieving business objectives and ensuring that everyone sees the value in their participation. Many businesses aiming to enhance their company culture view meetings as a key strategy. However, meetings can become frustrating if they lack a clear business purpose. If your goal is to foster team bonding, consider organizing team activities or interdepartmental projects instead of relying on meetings. These activities can help build connections among team members in a more engaging and interactive way than traditional meetings.



*This article features excerpts from Christina R. Green



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