How to run a successful meeting

3 August 2012
Alison Smith, the Purchasing CoachI’ve attended and facilitated a number of meetings recently. Some have gone better than others and I wondered what made the difference. What are the factors that make a meeting successful compared with those that hinder its success? Here’s what I concluded: Success factors: • Agree an agenda ahead of time. This ensures people arrive prepared, keeps you all focused and ensures you cover everything. • Clarify objectives at start of the meeting. You’re more likely to retain attention if you all understand why you’re there. • Pick up any actions outstanding from the previous meeting. If no-one bothers about what was agreed to be done at the last meeting, why would they bother to take action from this meeting? • Note actions arising as you go along. Confirm who will do what and by when at the end and issue the actions as soon after the meeting as possible. • Ideally, invite someone to facilitate who isn’t directly involved in contributing to the agenda. They’re more likely to keep you on track and will find it easier to ask the right questions. Hindrances: • Interruptions. Phone calls, texting, emailing – agree what’s acceptable and what isn’t. I’m sure this will differ according to age of those attending. I personally feel the frequency of people taking calls in meetings is disrespectful rather than a sign of great customer service. I’d love to know what you’d add to this list. P.S. I’m very pleased to have kept to the magic ratio 5:1 of positive to negative interactions in this blog. It’s a good indication of a successful relationship according to research by John Gottman that I blogged about yesterday and as is indirectly being measured by EDF Energy and the London Eye each night from 9pm to 10pm.
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