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5 Tips for Effective Meetings

by Nancy Hightower - August 17, 2021

Planning meetings, club meetings, volunteer meetings, and the list goes on. If anyone knows meetings, it’s AEHC!

Have you ever noticed that some meetings are more effective than others? Some meetings are engaging, productive, and focused while others are ineffectual, disjointed, or even chaotic?

What's the difference? Why do some meetings go so well when others don't? It's all in the planning and organization!

Here are 5 tips for effective meetings:

1. Plan, plan, plan!

Set a goal for your meeting. Make a list of everything that needs to happen and any materials needed to achieve the goal. Gather all materials before the day of the meeting so you know you have everything and don’t have to struggle to find things at the last minute. Create an agenda so that you don’t forget to do anything during the meeting. Having what you need and knowing what is going to happen beforehand helps keep the chaos to a minimum for everyone.

2. Location is key!

It is important to make sure all attendees can be comfortable at the meeting location and that all equipment is present and can run properly. If you need to use a projector, is there one set up or room to put one? Can you dim the lights if you need to? Are there accessible wall outlets for any electronics or appliances that are needed? Are there wheelchair ramps for those that may need it? Is the location large enough to accommodate all attendees?

Right now, during COVID, does the location meet the organization’s guidelines?
Find UAEX meeting guidelines here.

3. Seating arrangements matter! 

Seating arrangements should be made so that everyone can be involved in the action. If there is a speaker and/or presentation, everyone needs to be able to see it. If everyone is talking amongst themselves or having a group discussion, consider placing seats in a rectangle where everyone is facing inward, or in a circle. If attendees are going to be broken into small groups, perhaps small round tables would be easy for them to talk and work together. Check out some common meeting room arrangements here.

4. Keep the meeting on track!

Keeping the meeting on track will help everyone stay on the same page and move the meeting along smoothly. Follow the prepared agenda to make sure the meeting stays on track. Start by stating the purpose of the meeting to make sure that everyone is understanding of the goal. Ask attendees to participate actively when it is their turn. Assign jobs as needed. If necessary, follow parliamentary procedure.
Get information on parliamentary procedure here.

Close the meeting by stating what has been accomplished, assigning any work that needs to be done by attendees moving forward, and deciding if any subsequent meetings need to be held. If there are subsequent meetings, give the location, date, and time of the next one.

5. Follow up!

Follow up with attendees. You can ask for feedback, send out a reminder for future meetings, and send out the meeting minutes or notes. Don't forget to send thank you notes to any speakers.

These are just some tips that can elevate the effectiveness of your meetings. Tailor these tips to your specific purposes. And remember, right now, all UAEX events must meet the current COVID Event Guidelines.