5 Questions to Help You Run Efficient and Productive Meetings

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on July 29, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The higher you get on the corporate ladder, the more of your time is spent in a conference room. Some days, you'll look at your calendar and see nothing but back-to-back meetings. Where are you going to find the time to get anything done?

The first place to find the time is by making sure that the meetings you are in are efficient and productive. Want the key to running a good meeting? Ask yourself these 5 questions.

1. What’s the Agenda?

Your meeting is only as good as the agenda. Before each meeting, make sure that everyone invited to the meeting has a copy of the agenda. Keep the agenda clear and brief — be realistic about how much you can accomplish in one meeting.

2. What Kind of Meeting?

Identify in advance of the meeting whether the meeting is informational only, or if decisions need to be made. Make sure that you invite all relevant people, but don’t over-invite. There’s nothing more annoying than wasting an hour in a meeting that you didn’t need to be in.

3. What Kind of Decisions?

Identify in advance of the meeting the kind of decision that needs to be made. Do you need a consensus? Or will everyone have a chance to express an opinion and then the team leader will commit to a decision, even if it’s not unanimous.

4. What’s the Topic?

Make sure you stay on topic. Having a good agenda will help with this but you can’t stop there. Someone is always bound to take the conversation off topic — steer everyone back to the relevant issues at hand.

5. What Time is it Over?

Indentify in advance of the meeting what time the meeting is scheduled to begin and end. This not only allows people to plan accordingly, but it sets expectations in everyone’s mind. Don’t tolerate lateness, and set a good example by always being on time yourself. Getting done early is always better than getting done late.

Answering these five questions will allow you to run productive, efficient meeting whether it is with your legal team, or clients. Always keep in mind why you are meeting, and do everything you can to stay on track.

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