6 Tips to Start Better Meetings

6 tips to start better meetings
Joe Burroughs

Joe Burroughs

Many people are frustrated by uncertainty and complexity in their jobs. I use Agile principles to provide clear and simple strategies so that you can win at work!

Better meetings start off well

We have all been in meetings that we immediately knew were headed nowhere. If a meeting starts off poorly it is next to impossible to get things back on track. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few simple principles to ensure a productive start to your meetings? I’ve put together a quick guide on how to start meetings off well, so you can be comfortable your meetings will be headed in the right direction.

How does a meeting to start off badly?

Many meetings start off with a bit of small talk and then never really transition to the point of the call or meeting. One person may give a short status update and that begins a chain reaction of similar updates which offer little value and before you know it the time has gotten away and the conversation turns toward scheduling the next of these pointless events. 

Sometimes a meeting begins with a few points to consider and immediately the debate about how best to word the first point derails the meeting into chaos from which it never recovers.

Often some people engage in social conversations at the beginning of a meeting and other participants begin to multitask and when their input is requested they respond by saying something like, “I’m sorry Janet, I was distracted for a second by this email. What were you asking me?” This behavior often becomes infectious and undermines any value the meeting might have had.

Another common problem is when the meeting starts off with a conversation people aren’t 100% prepared to have. “Oh, I didn’t think we were talking about that today, I knew it was in the works but I would have to review some documentation before I could really speak to it.”

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How can I make sure my meetings start better?

How can I be positive that the meetings I lead start off on the right foot? No one wants their meetings to go wrong at any time especially right from the get-go, so what can be done to prevent it?

Below you’ll find 6 simple tips to start better meetings and you’ll never need to worry about this again!

6 Tips to start better meetings

  1. Send out a simple agenda with the meeting invite and send it again one hour before the meeting starts
  2.  Start the meeting with a clear statement of purpose, “Today we’re going to discuss X and decide Y.”
  3. Have a schedule of time boxes for each topic and stick to it
  4. Agree upfront to “Parking Lot” any topics that run too long or begin dissolving into arguments
  5. Have a designated note-taker and let everyone know who that is and that they will be sending out notes after the meeting
  6. Begin your meeting by welcoming everyone, thanking them for their participation, and asking for their undivided attention
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Follow those tips to start meetings that get things done

Every one of those tips is a simple easy thing to do each and every time you have a meeting. So why do so many meetings start poorly? Because people do not do those simple things. 

You can take a few minutes before you send the invite to jot down an agenda and a few more at the beginning of each meeting to make sure you set the stage for success. That is all it takes to start great meetings that actually get things accomplished. 

Best of all you will stand out as a great organizer and leader. That’s worth the effort for sure!

My next article will help you keep your meetings on track and get them back on the right foot if they begin to take a turn. Let me know your best meeting tips in the comments below.


Joe Burroughs

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