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Tips for Holding Effective Meetings

15 June 2021

As we continue to evolve our ways of working, it has never been more important to make sure that the time we spend together is meaningful and purposeful. The following tips for holding effective meetings will help make sure that, whether we are face to face or screen to screen, our meetings are a value-add interaction for all.

Be Prepared


Be clear about the purpose of every meeting, the outcomes that need to be achieved and your role for the session. Agree agendas in advance and if you need clarity on any aspect, ask the host.


Be familiar with the access details for the meeting – whether it’s the location of an on-site room or your dial-in details or link for a MS Teams Meeting, make sure you know where you’re going or what you need to click to attend!

Attendance and Punctuality


Respond to meeting invites so the host knows whether you will or won’t be attending. If you can’t attend, a delegate may be needed so agree this in advance if applicable.


If something comes up last minute that means you can’t attend or that you need to cancel the meeting at short notice, let your host / participants know as early as possible.


Show up to the meeting on time to avoid any delays to the start time. Similarly, make sure that meetings end on time! As we’re now meeting virtually more often, try scheduling meetings for 25 or 50 minutes rather than 30 or 60 minute slots – this gives everyone a chance to stretch their legs between meetings. Make it fun by setting a time keeper or agreeing forfeits in advance!

Be Present


Whether you’re the host or participant, give the meeting your full attention. Small steps such as putting your mobile away or on silent, closing Outlook or muting notifications can help you avoid distractions and actively listen and contribute to the discussion at hand.


Your input matters so make sure to stay engaged throughout the session and ask questions when it’s relevant. Depending on the meeting channel or on your location, you may need to mute / unmute yourself, adjust the positioning of your chair or camera or even close the doors and windows to minimise background noise and maximise your voice! Ensure that all participants are encouraged to position their camera to displace their face to improve the effectiveness of the engagement.


Include all attendees: Ensure all participants, whether in the room or attending virtually, have an opportunity to have their voice heard and opinion put forward.

Agree Next Steps


Whether there are actions that need to be completed, minutes that need to be issued, or decisions that need to be ratified, summarise the output of the meeting before finishing the session. All participants should be clear on what is expected of them and on what they can expect from everyone else.

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