Have you ever been to a time-consuming meeting, but you felt like nothing got done?   

Look no further.  Here’s how to structure productive meetings. 

Know the purpose of the meeting

This may seem like a gimme, but you’d be surprised how often meetings get derailed because not everyone knows what is relevant.  How can you expect the meeting to be productive if not everyone knows what it’s about? Plus, it’s good to evaluate the purpose of the meeting to see if it’s even necessary.  For example, if you just need to share some information, would it be easier to send an email?   

Have a list of meeting points 

Make sure you know each main point that needs to be covered in the meeting and approximately how long each point should take.  Time is precious, and sticking to the agenda will help make every second count.  Share the list beforehand so employees are prepared and ready to respond if needed.   

Have a designated meeting leader

When there is no meeting leader, it’s easier to get off track and the meeting can quickly become a waste of time. The leader can also help moderate the discussion to make sure everyone’s voices are being heard.   

Evaluate the meeting participants

Be selective in who attends the meeting.  Do two people from the same department both need to be there?   

Be flexible to others’ schedules

Others may have more pressing responsibilities during the meeting times and cannot attend, so it may make sense to reschedule the time or even cancel a regular meeting. 

Establish meeting rules

Let the participants know that they should be present and focused during the meeting and not be on their phones or computers.  Moderate a conversation.  Invite feedback, questions, and/or concerns.   

Speak clearly

Make sure everyone is on the same page.  Don’t use terminology or acronyms that everyone may not know.   

Allocate follow-ups

It’s one thing to a structure a meeting that is productive while you are face to face, but it’s another to make sure that action items and takeaways are assigned. At the end of the meeting, it is important to designate tasks.  There should be a defined action plan with pieces for follow-up and deadlines.   

Shar key points after the meeting

Send out the meeting notes as a reminder of the key takeaways and follow-up tasks so that everyone has the relevant information and remains on the same page.   

With all these tips, your next meeting will be the most productive yet!