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Twenty-One Steps to a More Effective Meeting

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Before the Meeting
  1. Plan the meeting carefully: who, what, when, where, why, how many.
  2. Prepare a written agenda.
  3. Send out meeting notices.
  4. Come early and set up the room.
At the Beginning of the Meeting
  1. Start on time.
  2. Have participants introduce themselves and state their expectations for the meeting.
  3. Clearly define the roles of the chair, recorder, and group members.
  4. Review, revise, and order the agenda.
  5. Set clear time limits.
  6. Review action items from the previous meeting.
During the Meeting
  1. Identify the desired outcome for each meeting topic.
  2. Focus on the same problem in the same way at the same time.
  3. Keep accurate minutes of key decisions and actions.
At the End of the Meeting
  1. Establish the action items: who, what, when.
  2. Summarize the decisions reached, and the differences unresolved.
  3. Set the date and place of the next meeting and develop a preliminary agenda.
  4. Have participants evaluate briefly what worked well with the meeting, what didn't, and what could be done differently next time.
  5. Close the meeting crisply and positively.
  6. Clean up and reset the room.
After the Meeting
  1. Prepare the group memo summarizing key decisions and actions.
  2. Follow up on action items and begin to plan the next meeting.
(source: adapted from Michael Doyle and David Strauss, How to Make Meeting Work)