How do I host a productive meeting?

Photo by Nguyen Hung Vu.

Everyone has attended a meeting that they felt was a waste of their time. In the coffee room, you have no doubt overheard colleagues grumbling about how they could be using their time more effectively than sitting at yet another meeting. But it is possible to facilitate productive meetings and keep everyone at the meeting actively engaged.

Here are the top six tips on how to host a successful meeting:

1) Make every meeting matter

Do not use meetings as a place to provide updates. This can be done by phone or email. Use meetings as a place for creative brainstorming or to keep a project on track.

2) Have your meetings on a Tuesday afternoon

Do not host a meeting first thing on a Monday morning, or any morning, for that matter. Mornings are usually not the best times for people to be creative and constructive. Those who are alert in the morning typically want to get caught up on their emails from the day before and settle into their workday. Try hosting your meetings in the afternoon, which has proven to be a successful and effective time for meetings.

3) Stand-up meetings

Want to keep the meeting moving and on point? Try hosting a meeting where everyone has to stand. This is a surefire way to keep the discussion engaged and on track.

4) Define goals in advance

To keep the meeting on time and meet the objectives of the get-together, it is always advisable to circulate the goals of the meeting beforehand. The attendees will know what to expect, come prepared and understand the objectives that need to be met at the meeting.

5) Take charge of the meeting

With every meeting there has to be one person keeping an eye on the clock and the list of objectives. There should be another person taking notes of the meeting and acting as a reminder to the host to keep the gathering on track.

6) Close with an action plan

End your meeting with an action plan, and have the plan distributed to everyone who attended. The plan should include a list of who will be responsible for the next series of tasks, the dates when the tasks are expected to be completed and the time and date of the next meeting.

Meetings do not need to be boring or a waste of time. Bringing people together has proven to be a very effective method of increasing creative energy and finding solutions to longstanding problems. Use these helpful tips and you, too, will be hosting successful and constructive meetings.

About the author

Sacha DeVoretz is an independent journalist currently based in North Vancouver. Sacha reports and blogs on a broad spectrum of stories both locally and internationally. Her in-depth coverage has been featured in the Vancouver Observer, Canadian Immigrant Magazine and Fox News Latino. She writes a lifestyle blog for the Huffington Post. Visit her daily at

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