Conduct effective meetings



“Leaders who know how to effectively run meetings set themselves apart from the rest. They are few and far between.” —Janna Rust


Effective meetings are the foundation upon which are built continuous improvements in teaching, learning, and relationships. Well-run meetings are productive, foster learning, and strengthen relationships. They not only deepen understanding of important issues, they produce actions that contribute to the achievement of important goals.

In a blog post Janna Rust offers several suggestions for conducting effective meetings—identify the desired outcome of a meeting or agenda item, choose a meeting length and structure based upon your desired outcome, create a “parking lot” to capture ideas that require a separate meeting so you can stay focused, and avoid distributing information that can be communicated via a written format. To her list I would add including on the agenda whenever possible a formal learning activity (for instance, reading and discussing part of a journal article relevant to the group’s work) and making certain that all participants are clear about follow-up steps to the meeting, particularly the specific actions each person will complete by an agreed upon date.

In Making Meetings Work: How to Get Started, Get Going, and Get It Done, Ann Delehant provides tips on writing purpose statements for groups, selecting group members, building meeting agendas, determining desired outcomes for agenda items, arranging the meeting room, establishing ground rules, and selecting an appropriate decision-making process, among many other topics.

A team approach to meeting planning and implementation enables individuals to contribute their unique strengths to the process. For instance, a team member with strong communication skills may solicit input from group members and build the agenda, another with facilitative skills may lead the meeting, and a person with organizational talents could distribute meeting minutes that highlight actions steps and timelines.

Take a moment now to . . .

• identify an action you will take to strengthen an upcoming meeting for which you are responsible.

3 Responses to “Conduct effective meetings”

  1. 1 Mike April 26, 2010 at 6:43 am

    In my experience, poorly run meetings were the norm. Thoughtfully planned and thoughtfully conducted meetings improve teaching and uplift morale. Every teacher, every administrator, in my opinion, should take a course in how to run an effective meeting. A “good meeting” should not be an oxymoron.

    This is an important post for any leader who really wants to make a difference in education.


    • 2 Janna Rust May 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Mike,

      I took a 1-hour course (about a day in the classroom) in my MBA program regarding meeting facilitation. I totally agree that everyone should learn to run meetings with excellence. If they did, they would set themselves apart from the rest!


  2. 3 Janna Rust May 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for linking to me and for your interest in making meetings better! 🙂 I think it is a shame that meetings are so poorly run most of the time.

    I love your addition to my thoughts on meetings with respect to a formal training portion of a meeting. I love to do this in my meetings. It can be short, but provides added value.

    Keep up the good work here!

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