top of page

Meeting Best Practices


Having an established set of best practices that are followed organization-wide will ensure that team meetings are engaging, foster collaboration, and promote team clarity. Meeting best practices are a great team management technique to employ (for in-person or remote teams) so that team members aren’t experiencing discomfort, frustration, or uneasiness when it comes to your team meetings.


Additionally, these established guidelines ensure that all meetings are scheduled in a timely manner, agendas are created and contain all necessary information, and meeting follow-up items are appropriately noted and acted upon.


When it comes to meetings, there are four main tasks that organizations engage in:

  1. Scheduling a Meeting

  2. Creating a Meeting Agenda

  3. Running a Meeting

  4. Meeting Follow Up

While all organizations differ and may have their own unique processes and procedures, there are some standard practices that all organizations can (and should!) follow:

 

Scheduling a Meeting

Best practice is to schedule meetings at least one week in advance. This allows all invitees to put the meeting on their calendar. It also provides time for invitees to re-arrange other events if necessary so that they are able to attend the meeting as scheduled.


When sending a meeting invitation, it is important to include a copy of the meeting agenda. If an agenda is not available at the time of invitation, then the agenda should be sent separately as soon as it is available. This provides meeting attendees with ample time to preview the agenda, prepare questions, and suggest edits before the meeting.


Creating a Meeting Agenda

As mentioned above, meeting agendas should be prepared and sent to all attendees as soon as possible. At minimum, an agenda should be sent out one hour prior to the meeting.


It’s best to use an agenda template to create meeting agendas. This helps to ensure that all of the necessary information is included. If your organization doesn’t have an agenda template available, you can download our free template.


In your agenda, you should make sure that you do the following:

  • Link relevant materials for attendees to preview in advance

    • Example: Notes from a previous meeting, reading materials being referenced during the meeting, presentation slides, etc.

  • Assign a facilitator to each agenda item

    • This allows the facilitator to prepare ahead of time instead of being put on the spot

    • Proper preparation ensures the meeting will remain on schedule

  • Prioritize agenda items in the following order:

    • Informational items

    • Discussion items

    • Action items

    • Question + Answer time

  • Categorize agenda items so that similar items are together. This allows discussion to flow in a productive way.

  • Allocate time for each item on your agenda

    • This helps to keep the meeting on track so that all topics are covered

    • As a buffer, add a couple of extra minutes to each agenda item

  • Use your agenda during the meeting to ensure that it is followed.

  • Take notes on your agenda so that everything is in one place.

Running a Meeting

When running a meeting, there are a few practices to be sure to follow. Most importantly, always stick to the agenda; do not let conversations wander.


It is also important to stick to the time frame allotted for the meetings. If the meeting happens to run longer than anticipated, know what agenda items could be moved to future meeting dates. If your meetings regularly run over on time, organizational adjustments may need to be made to remedy this issue.


For each meeting there should be a designated note taker. This individual is responsible for taking notes throughout the meeting and ensuring that all attendees receive a copy of the notes when the meeting is over. The notes taken during the meeting should include any decisions that were made during the meeting, tasks that need to be completed as follow up, and questions that remain unanswered.


Meeting Follow Up

After the meeting concludes, copies of the notes should be dispersed to all attendees. Additionally, follow up tasks should be assigned to the appropriate people. In order to increase accountability, all follow up tasks should be given a due date.


If a follow up task is set to be on a future meeting agenda, make sure the person(s) assigned to that task know the timeline they’re expected to complete their task within and whether or not they will be presenting/reporting on their task progress.

 

Within these best practices, organizations can further establish their own expectations and procedures for employees to follow. Some of the ways organizations can customize these best practices to fit their company culture are to:

  • establish set timelines

  • create a common agenda template that all employees use

  • differentiate practices based on whether meetings are in-person or virtual.

The most important thing to remember is that meeting best practices are established so that meetings can run smoothly, stay on track and on time, and so that all attendees know what to expect before, during, and after a meeting.


Comments


bottom of page