Simple Meeting Best Practices

Many people have written great blog posts (see Seth Godin’s blog) and books (see Michael Hyatt’s No Fail Meetings) on the topic of planning and running meetings well.

Here’s a few tips on things you, as a meeting leader, should ensure:

  • Before the Meeting
    • There’s a clear owner of the meeting who will prepare for, present information, and “own” the meeting
    • The time allocated to the meeting is appropriate to what is needed, not just a time slot that fits in the calendar
    • There’s no better way to move this forward than to have this meeting. (Ensure a meeting is necessary before scheduling it, as it’s a very ‘expensive’ investment of time
    • If you organize and schedule a meeting, always include a specific, detailed purpose and agenda in the meeting invite
    • Avoid coming “empty handed” to a meeting if you’re the organizer – come organized with a draft approach, presentation, documents, etc. to accelerate the meeting and use people’s time more efficiently
    • Ensure you’re prepared, so you’re not spending the first 5 minutes of the meeting pulling up the right documents while everyone watches
    • When sending out a meeting invite, include links (instead of document attachments) when sharing documents to make version control easier AND know that based on calendar sharing, actual attachments can be seen by anyone who can see your calendar – make sure you don’t attach docs that are sensitive in nature
    • Clearly communicate who will be taking notes, if anyone, and how actions will be captured and/or tracked after the meeting
  • Starting the Meeting
    • Review attendance to ensure the right people are there
    • Clearly state the purpose of the meeting
    • Clearly state the desired outcome using simple language like “This is what I want to happen from this meeting: ___”
    • Clarify the type of meeting:  Is this to review a draft approach? Is this to gain someone’s approval? Is this to work on an approach that isn’t created?  Something else? (see
    • Present the agenda clearly and get feedback from group on recommended revisions
  • After the Meeting
    • Follow up with quickly with pictures of whiteboards, action items, etc.
    • Ensure every action item has a single owner/assignee (group assignments aren’t clear re: ownership)
    • Consider tracking the actions in a system to track them to closure (e.g. Atlassian Jira) to ensure they’re not “lost” among competing priorities

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