Running a successful business meeting requires business savvy and an understanding of what makes a business meeting productive. Many businesses hold meeting after meeting only to find that they’re accomplishing very little through them. We’ve gathered a list of tips to help you improve the efficiency of your business meetings and outlined them below.


Know the Purpose of Your Meeting

When first planning a meeting, you must identify what the purpose of your meeting is. Some of the most effective business meeting types include:

  • Informational meetings are structured to cover as much information as possible and are one of the most common meeting types. These meetings work well to bring multiple departments or levels within a company into the same space to directly provide information rather than disseminate it through memos or emails.
  • Coordination meetings are designed to bring everyone on a team or project together to create a clear vision for the project. Goals in coordination meetings tend to revolve around the project’s overall organization.
  • Integration meetings address change within a business and are structured to help smooth out the transition when bringing on a new program, technique, or employee.

Create a Written Agenda

Using a written agenda helps you keep your meeting focused. A written agenda acts as a roadmap for your meeting. Your work meetings will run more smoothly if you have an agenda that you and other participants of the meeting can refer to when the meeting threatens to veer off-topic.

For many meetings, handing out a copy of the written agenda to every attendee can be beneficial. However, for shorter or more informal meetings, handing out a written agenda may serve as a distraction rather than a way to stay on task. If you are only covering a handful of essential topics, consider using an informal agenda to keep the meeting running smoothly without feeling overly structured.

Pay Attention to The Attendee List

The most successful business meetings trim the attendee list to only the relevant team members. While it may be tempting to bring in entire teams to make sure everyone is on the same page and working with the same information, more exclusive meetings allow time for every voice to be heard.

However, your work meetings must invite the team members necessary to put your plans into motion. If the hiring manager isn’t included in your meeting about the new internal hiring paperwork, how will they know they need

Designate a Meeting Leader

The leader of the meeting should be in charge of keeping the meeting moving through the agenda. In addition, the leader is also tasked with keeping conversations on-topic and constructive. The tone, body language, and energy of the leader can set the bar for the entire meeting.

One of the most important tasks assigned to the leader of the meeting is ensuring that everyone who speaks up or provides input feel heard and validated. While it’s impossible to please everyone, a simple “that’s a good point, are there any other thoughts about this?” can go a long way to making every employee feel more confident speaking during meetings.

Keep An Eye on The Time

You should always schedule meetings with a defined start and end time. A meeting with no defined ending is a sure way to drag the meeting on for too long, resulting in a loss of interest in the topic at hand and a loss of focus.

When running your meeting, make sure you’re spending the bulk of time on the actual agenda of the meeting. If you’re spending forty-five minutes joking around with icebreaker questions, you’ll find you have less time to talk about the reason you called the meeting in the first place.

Limit Potential Distractions

Man pointing to something on a phoneSet and enforce distraction limiting rules. Unless constant access to a phone or email is essential to an employee’s job, limit the type of electronics allowed in your meetings. While a no-phone rule may be unpopular, it will help increase productivity and focus within your business meetings.

One way to limit the potential for distractions is to take the meeting out of the office and rent a professional space ideal for your needs. A change of scenery can provide your team members with clarity and focus. If you can’t hear the phone ringing or the email pings in your meeting room, you’ll be more likely to focus on the task at hand.

Encourage Note Taking

The most effective business meetings not only have someone officially responsible for taking down the meeting minutes. Leaders should also encourage team members to take notes as the meeting goes on. Taking notes during the meeting can help keep team members on task and on-topic.

Encourage your team members to write notes about off-topic ideas or issues that come to them during the meeting, and either follow up at the end of the meeting or via email afterward.

Keep the Meeting On Task

As we’ve mentioned several times before, keeping your meeting on task is essential. Proper work meeting etiquette is to follow the meeting agenda as carefully as possible. If someone tries to veer off on a tangent or bring up another issue, however important it may be, the team leader should acknowledge the point and redirect back to the meeting’s purpose.

Use a Follow-Up List

An essential tool for keeping meetings on-topic is a ‘follow-up list’. Any tangent or off-topic issue brought up for discussion during the meeting gets placed on the follow-up list.

However, keep in mind that a successful business meeting is one where all team members feel involved, informed, and acknowledged. A follow-up list is only a successful tool to encourage involvement and acknowledgment when you follow through with the list and the issues raised. You want a team member to feel assured when their concern gets placed on this list, not like they’re being brushed aside or placated.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Another excellent tool for keeping work meetings on-topic is asking open-ended questions. Allowing team members to explore their curiosity during meetings can lead to new innovations and ideas.

The best open-ended questions are those that prompt discussion rather than having a clear answer. Ask your team members to approach problems from different angles to find solutions.

Take Time to Celebrate Success

Taking a few minutes at the beginning or end of your meeting to celebrate recent success can have a significant impact on morale. For many people, business meetings have become dreaded time-sinks rather than motivating brainstorming sessions. Celebrating team-wide success during meetings is an essential part of helping change your company’s culture around work meetings.

Implement a Feedback System

Whether you ask for feedback before closing out the meeting or in the follow-up email, we’ll talk about shortly; you must take constructive criticism about your meeting into consideration.

Why should you ask for feedback? For example, let’s take a team meeting with ten team members, a secretary to note the meeting minutes, and the meeting leader. That’s twelve different people attending the same meeting, and each of the twelve will have a different opinion about what was done correctly and what could be improved on. If you could have eleven extra minds help you improve the efficiency and success of your meeting, why wouldn’t you?

Follow-Up After the Meeting

Your business meetings must have a reputation for leading to change, improvement, and advancement towards the company’s overall goals. A great way to help implement changes from a meeting is by sending out a follow-up email.

Follow-up emails allow you to hit the high points of what was discussed in the meeting. They’re also a great way to touch upon off-topic, yet still important, issues or concerns discussed during meetings. Sending out a follow-up email allows you to really emphasize the meeting’s purpose one last time.

Cooperation Makes A Successful Business Meeting

Overall, the most useful business meetings are those with a defined purpose that allow everyone in attendance to voice their ideas or concerns. While some meetings are designed more to inform rather than act as a meeting of the minds, it’s still essential that you address and acknowledge your team member’s opinions and ideas.

Outside of how you conduct your business meeting, a large part of making it successful comes down to having the proper space to conduct your meeting. When you’re stuck trying to pass the written agenda around a coffee table crammed into a break room, you’re sure to end up with frustrated and unfocused employees. On Spare Workspace, you’ll find meeting rooms designed with everything you need to get down to work, with none of the distractions that beg for your attention every day at the office.


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