How to hold a purposeful meeting.

The purpose of a meeting is to gain results from a team of people that otherwise couldn’t be achieved without the meeting.  The meeting is not a form of productivity for business tasks it can provide direction in which to drive work tasks.

Here is my list of simple meeting rules.


Publish an agenda with the meeting requests, a meeting can be rejected or ignored unless an agenda is published.

The agenda needs to specify the order of the conversations in the meeting, the subjects, who owns them, and how long they are to be discussed.

Action points,

A meeting has to publish action points at the end of the meeting that need to be assigned to a person, with a finish date and delivery point. (this can include having another more restricted meeting with less staff later on!)


Publish results of the meeting. Minutes to the meeting should be published with in 24hrs day of the meeting. They should be short and concise with action points, who is taking them and when they should be delivered.

Meeting etiquette for attendees.

Prepare to provide information on the agenda items or on items from previous meeting minutes to be reviewed.

Bring solutions to meetings not problems.

Reporting on positive actions and results from previous meetings is redundant information, bring ideas and solutions that need peer review to a meeting.

Expect any items that are not on the agenda to be parked or that go on longer than the agenda allows to be parked. At the end of the meeting if time allows for any other business or these parked subjects a decision for further new meeting time can be made.

Respect the time of others and don’t arrive late to a meeting, start the meeting at the stated time and allow the meeting to finish on time. – Remember 1 hour of a meeting with 8 people is one man day of time.

Take personal notes of actions to be taken, it should be clear that if there is nothing to delivery as a result of the meeting the meeting isn’t effective.

Meeting structure

Finally here a quick overview of an agenda for sending out with the meeting invite.


Project X update meeting

Room: Meeting room

Thursday, 23 August 2012

10am to 10.30am

Attendees DS, JK , MA,

By phone MK, JG, JF

[Item number], [Time], [Item], [Meeting Owner]

1. 10.00 Open meeting and introductions, DS

2. 10.05 Minutes of previous meeting,  JK

3. 10.10 New business idea.  JF

4. 10.20 Parked business. DS

5. 10.25 Any other business. DS

6. 10.30 Meeting close, next meeting set. DS

If you’ve found this useful and encouraging to make your meetings more dynamic and useful please let me know how you get on.