If you want to have more effective meetings, first you have to learn the basics. Here are some simple, easy-to-follow and proven guidelines that should be followed each and every time your group meets.

Print this page. Hang it on your meeting room wall. Write the guidelines on a poster. Memorize them by heart. Do whatever it's going to take to improve your meetings!

Guidelines you and your group can follow before, during and after your meeting:

1. Only hold a meeting if necessary.
2. All meetings must have clear objectives.
3. Invite a neutral facilitator to sensitive meetings.
4. All meetings must have an agenda which includes:
  topics for discussion
  presenter or discussion leader for each topic
  time allotment for each topic
5. Meeting information needs to be circulated to everyone prior to the meeting.
Make sure to include:
  meeting objectives
  meeting agenda
  location/date/time
  background information
  assigned items for preparation
6. Meetings must start precisely on time so as not to punish those who are punctual. This also sets the stage for how serious you are about making the meeting effective.
7. Meeting participants must:
  arrive on time
  be well-prepared
  be concise and to the point
  participate in a constructive manner
8. Meeting notes must be recorded and made part of the company's meeting information archives.
9. The decisions made by the group must be documented.
10. Assigned action items must be documented, and the host, or an appropriate participant, must be appointed to follow-up on the completion of all action items.
11. Meeting effectiveness must be reviewed at the end of each meeting and suggested improvements applied to the next meeting.

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