Run an efficient meeting or cancel it – Part 2

Run an efficient meeting or cancel it – Part 2

You are in the meeting room and the meeting is about to start.  How to use your time in the most efficient and effective way?

First, I hope you read my previous post on how to prepare for the meeting and that you followed some of the tips described there.  Next, follow the guidelines from this post.

And yes, there will be handmade drawings in this post too…

During the meeting


Each meeting (in a perfect world) has its purpose. Remind your audience of it. Explain the purpose and desired outcome of the meeting. Tell them why it is important for them to spend their time in the meeting.


And it does not matter that you have already sent this information in the invitation. It is important to make everyone in the meeting aware of why they are there.


Present what will happen during the meeting and when it will happen. Go through the agenda and explain who is responsible for each item in the agenda. Give information about how it will be achieved (brainstorming, voting, presentation).


Remember to include time for summary, questions and evaluation. Make this a separate point in the agenda.

Ground rules

Before moving to the main part of the gathering explain the ground rules that everyone should follow.


Ground rules vary, but here are a few of the most common:

  • No phones
  • Be on time
  • One person speaks at a time
  • During the brainstorming session one should not criticize others
  • Every idea is allowed


One of the “deliverables” from the meeting is notes. The more detailed the better. You are in charge of the meeting and you have a lot of tasks already. Ask or designate a person to be responsible for notes and to distribute them to everyone after the meeting.


Ask them to include in the notes all important information, decisions that will be made, doubts, and things to be checked later.

Follow up

If the meeting is a follow-up, remind the audience what was discussed during the previous meeting. Show output from that meeting and present what (if anything) happened or changed since that time.


Ask them if they have anything to add and if they agree with your summary.

Action points

Probably you will come up with some action points during the meeting. Write them down. The practice we use in Making Waves is to note these points in triples:

  • Who – one single person responsible for the action
  • What – a brief description of the action
  • When – the date by which the action has to be done


The person responsible for each action should confirm his/her commitment to it.


A very often forgotten part of the meeting is feedback from attendees. If you want to make your meeting more effective and useful ask for an opinion about it. Plan in the agenda a 5 minute long slot for evaluation at the end of the meeting.


Use any method of gathering feedback you like, from silent feedback given in the form of notes to plus and delta plus (you ask what was alright and what could have been done better).

After the meeting

Send notes

Gather notes from the note-taker of the meeting and also from the other attendees. Process them, clean them up, and put them in order.  Then send them to everyone that was in the meeting. You can do this through e-mail, a wiki page, or any other method used by your company.

Process action points

Distribute action points. Again, use the method that is preferred at your place. We use JIRA for such purposes. In the action points you should set a due date, choose an assignee, and describe the task.


Choose one thing from the evaluation and try to improve it next time. Your next meeting will be better for it.

That’s all folks… about meetings :) Stay tuned for more productivity tips in the near future.