The Unwritten Rules of Meetings

by Jul 17, 2019Uncategorized0 comments

Running a successful meeting isn’t simply a matter of doing the obvious things like sharing the agenda and starting on time. The real key to effective meetings is organising them efficiently with a human touch!

With that in mind we have put together a list of unwritten rules of how to run a successful meeting.  Work colleagues everywhere will thank you!


The Rules

Do you really need a meeting before you schedule one? Could this be resolved by 10 minutes on the phone or via email instead?

Every meeting MUST have a purpose: You either need to make a decision or complete an action. General updates should be sent via email.

How often have you received that dreaded calendar invite attempting to steal an hour or two hours of your day! Do not schedule more time than you need. Most meetings should be 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or 45 minutes.

Start on time. Don’t wait for dawdlers—it only encourages them.

Make sure you End on time. Saying something like, “I know we’ve all got a lot to do, so let’s try and keep this under 30 minutes,” will remind people that you want an efficient meeting just as much as they do.

Only invite the people who absolutely need to be there. The more people you have in a meeting, the more unnecessary chat takes place and less gets done.

Every meeting needs to have someone running it. Ensure that a person is appointed before the meeting and let everyone know they are in charge.

Allow for a few minutes for general chat at the beginning of the meeting. We are human, not robots, this will allow for building rapport with colleagues helps meetings run more smoothly.

If you want attendess to read something before the meeting, sending it at least four hours ahead of time is good, the day before is better. Sending it 30 minutes before is completely useless!

Book your meeting space ahead of time, or give yourself plenty of time before the meeting to get your bearings. Wandering the building with everyone in tow is wasting everyone’s time.

Set an agenda, and share it prior to the meeting to keep everyone on track.
If you want people to pay attention, don’t give them packs of paperwork at the beginning of the meeting. This will distract them, no-one can read and listen at the same time.

To avoid further distractions, get everyone to turn their phones off or at least adjust the settings to silent. Vibrate is not an option!

An action item without someone assigned to it is worthless. In most cases, a deadline is needed as well.

If someone is speaking too much, cut him or her off (in a nice way obviously). Likewise, if someone is speaking too little, try to engage him or her.

If the conversation goes off topic, rein it in. A simple, “Let’s arrange time to discuss that later we only have 10 minutes left,” and follow up in an email post meeting.

If the meeting is over an hour long, make sure you schedule time for breaks, and let attendees know about them ahead of time. Knowing they can check their phones in 45 minutes will help keep them focused.

Watch attendee body language. You can quickly tell if individuals are bored, disengaged, or feel like their time is being wasted. Adjust your tone, pace or simply take a break.

Assign a minute taker, so that you can focus on running the meeting.

Regularly assess the need for recurring meetings if so, review the format, length, and whether attendees are contributing to their effectiveness. If not? Don’t have them!

The Hawkhills

If you are looking for somewhere to host your next meeting, conference or event. The Hawkhills offers the perfect combination of location, ambiance, modern facilities and convenient accommodation for all your conference and business events.

Set in tranquil countryside, with ample free secure car parking and modern on-site accommodation, the Hawkhills provides quality catering, state-of-the-art conference facilities and a range of indoor and outdoor activities offering the opportunity to relax and unwind.

We have a 150 seat lecture theatre, 17 seminar rooms and a peaceful library should you require somewhere quiet to work. Our training rooms are all air conditioned and are designed for maximum flexibility of use. We have 4 adjacent rooms which can be combined to accommodate up to 80 people. We have refreshments available throughout the day, easy vehicular access for loading and unloading and a dedicated event suport service to ensure the smooth running of your events and to help you make full use of the wide range of IT and AV equipment available.


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