Key to successful meetings

You’ve heard this before, but it still bears repeating: Start meetings on time. End meetings on time. Have an agenda.

Don’t wait for attendees to all be present before starting a meeting. Start it on time, to respect those who arrived on time and are prepared, and soon you’ll have the stragglers coming in on time in the future.

Have an agenda, with the most important items first. Send it out in advance, so attendees have time to prepare. It’s okay to go off-topic, once in a while, but don’t let it go off the rails. Get back on schedule and on-agenda.

End a meeting on time. Respect those who have to go off to another meeting at the top of the hour. Try to end a minute or two before the scheduled end-time. If you have attendees on the phone, thank them for being present and for their participation and then hang up.

If you observe these rules, you’ll have more productive meetings where attendees are prepared, pay attention and participate.