10 Proven Ways to Run Great Meetings

Poorly run meetings are like garbage strewn along the organizational highway. Useful meetings are like the Sumatran Tiger, powerful but nearly extinct.

Great organizations have great meetings.

7 reasons meetings suck:

  1. They’re too long.
  2. They lack purpose and outcomes.
  3. The wrong people are in the room.
  4. Participants aren’t accountable for results.
  5. Participants engage in turf wars.
  6. Few participate; many observe.
  7. Going along is honored while constructive dissent is stifled.

Bonus: Too many meetings suggest people aren’t aligned or authorized to act on their own.


The main reason meetings suck is the chairperson is inept.


10 Ways to run great meetings:

Chairpersons are responsible for leveraging the talent in the room and using everyone’s time effectively.

  1. Determine and explain the purpose of the meeting. “We are here to…”
  2. Prepare the agenda. Short is better. Ask for feedback on the agenda the day before.
  3. Make agenda items outcomes not topics.
  4. Place priority items first.
  5. Rush through “the small stuff” at the end not the beginning. They take too much time if you address them first.
  6. Invite people who actually do the work to participate.
  7. Interrupt people who talk too much. It’s better to speak to them privately but if they don’t get the message, interrupt. “Before we go too much further, I’d like to hear what Mary has to add.”
  8. Invite quiet people to speak. “Bob, do you have anything to add?” Yes, put them on the spot, if necessary.
  9. Allow conversations to stray but always bring them back to desired outcomes. “This conversation is useful but a bit off topic. Let’s come back to it another time. We’re determining the …”
  10. Time limits are valuable but allow long discussions on important topic. New ideas and breakthroughs take time.

Value add:

How to Quickly End Useless Meetings

Contributions on Facebook.

How do successful chairpersons run meetings?

What are the biggest mistakes ineffective chairpersons make?