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close this bookHundred Tips for a Better Management (Aga Khan Foundation, 1993, 70 p.)
close this folderRunning effective meetings
View the document(introduction...)
View the document9. Before you call a meeting, decide if you should have one at all10
View the document10. If you must have a meeting, plan how to get the most out of it11
View the document11. Guide your team in having more effective discussions12
View the document12. Start on time; End on time13
View the document13. How to chair a meeting14
View the document14. Don't sit on the results of a good meeting; follow up with a plan of action15
View the document15. Maximise what you can get out of a ''brainstorming'' session16

10. If you must have a meeting, plan how to get the most out of it11

Meetings are commonly held to introduce new ideas and activities, to review the progress of existing ones, to discuss alternatives for solving a problem, to make decisions, or to do any number of things. But, people the world over complain about meetings, judging them a waste of time and effort. If you know how to run a meeting effectively, that is, if you can conduct it in a way that makes efficient use of time and achieves the purpose for which it was planned, your meetings need never be a complete waste of time.

The following steps can help you to run a more effective meeting:

  • Define the purpose: Provide people with a clear understanding of what you want from the meeting and why you want this particular group of people involved.


  • Prepare an agenda: Prepare an agenda of the topics to be covered, the names of speakers, the amount of time to be spent on each topic, and any procedures, e.g., brainstorming, group exercises, that will be used.


  • Clarify roles: Clarifying roles of the participants can be useful if people are meeting together for the first time or if the group is large and needs to be structured. The team leader: usually but not always the supervisor, calls the meeting, sets the agenda, and initiates discussion. A facilitator keeps the meeting on track, moderates any conflicts, and monitors time. A recorder or scribe keeps a written record of what happened in the meeting. Additional roles such as advisors or observers could be assigned if necessary.


  • Set ground rules: Make explicit the rules on how the meeting will be conducted. Some examples include: to respect one another and not interrupt while someone is speaking, to make decision by consensus, etc.