8 Tips for running a successful business meeting

As a corporate recruiter I find myself in dozens of meetings per week.  Some are productive but most are simply a waste of time.  I have a feeling that I am not alone in thinking that a little training on running a meeting would go a long way.  It amazes me that companies spend millions of dollars on all types of training but I have never come across training for managers on best practices for running a business meeting.


Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Captain “plan it”

Create a written agenda that includes all items you want to cover in the meeting.  Also, encourage others to submit, in advance, items they want to discuss.

Right in time

If you develop a reputation for arriving late to meetings others will follow suit.  Once you become more punctual, others will realize how serious you are about starting on time.  A general rule of thumb is to wait only a couple of minutes for late arrivals but never longer than 5 minutes.

Set the course

Emphasize when you plan to adjourn.  Mapping out the meeting for the group helps keep everyone on board.

Timely manners

Limit the agenda to keep the meeting to inder two hours.  Attach specifi times to each item to help keep the group on time.

Group participation

There will be those that speak their mind and others who are more reluctant to speak at your meeting.  Ask for an opinion from the quieter people and interrupt the ones who tend to monopolize the meeting.

Advance warning

If at all possible, distribute the agenda at least two days in advance so your group can know what to expect.  If that is not possible, hand out your agenda as people arrive.

Later on

If a problem arises that takes too much of your discussion time and there seems to be no solution, either come back to the situation later in the meeting, giving people time to think about a solution, or assign a group to work on it and follow up on the issue at a later time.

Make plans for the future

Set the time, date and location of then next meeting.  Thank everyone for attending with special attention given to those who gave speeches, reports or other special effort.