Teamwork

7 tips to set up effective meetings + Templates

No more useless meetings! Here are 7 tips to set up effective meetings + a Meeting agenda template + a Meeting minutes template.
Matthieu
4 min

We are all overwhelmed with virtual and in-person meetings. Often they are poorly run, inefficient, and useless.

So, how do you properly set up meetings to take decisions and actually move projects forward? 

Here are our 7 tips to set up effective meetings, as well as a meeting agenda template and a meeting minutes template:

  1. Create a simple agenda
  2. Share resources ahead of time
  3. Limit the number of participants and check availability
  4. Name a secretary and time-keeper
  5. Give everyone a chance to speak
  6. Write down a meeting minutes
  7. Set another meeting
  • Meeting Agenda Template
  • Meeting Minutes Template

Tips to set up effective meetings

1. Create a clear meeting agenda

Ensure not to multiply the topics as you risk losing your audience and unnecessarily extending the meeting. Define a clear meeting objective and a meeting agenda. A list 3 to 5 topics is ideal. Have a look at our Meeting agenda template at the end of this blog post.

2. Share resources ahead of time

To allow everyone to properly prepare for the meeting, it is useful to share resources (documents, links, etc.) beforehand. This way, everyone can prepare questions or preliminary answers to certain agenda items.

3. Limit the number of participants and check their availabilities

There is no need to invite the entire company, an effective meeting that leads to decisions takes place in a small group. Four to seven people are usually sufficient. Beyond that, you lower your chances of making a decision.

In a small group, it is also easier to manage speaking times. Before sending out invitations, also think about checking each person's availability using shared calendars.

4. Name a secretary and a time-keeper

To organize effective meetings, it is crucial to name someone for taking notes and being the master of time. This can of course be the same person.

Without taking notes, you will only have vague memories of the discussions and decisions made.

Similarly, to remain efficient, someone must ensure that all the agenda items can be discussed and that the meeting does not last too much. It is about imposing time constraints to remain efficient but also to respect your participants, as we all have busy schedules.

5. Give everyone a chance to speak

If you lead a meeting, be clear about the agenda and the purpose of the meeting, but then let others express themselves. If you share your ideas first, you run the risk of biasing the discussions.

Similarly, to simplify, we will say that there are two types of people: extroverts and introverts.

Extroverts are more comfortable speaking off the cuff in meetings. However, introverts may not be comfortable speaking or may need more time to think. Yet, they surely have great ideas.

To give them a chance to speak, there are several solutions:

  • Go around the table
  • Address those who have remained silent
  • Conduct a survey before or after the meeting
  • Organize individual meetings with the more introverted

6. Take minutes of the meeting

A meeting without minutes is valuable information thrown in the trash…

The secretary should take notes of the meeting. These notes should include outstanding questions, decisions made, and actions to be taken by each person as well as future deadlines.

Indeed, at the end of the meeting or in the minutes, it is crucial to clearly define the tasks to be done, by whom, and by when. Without this, everyone is waiting for the other person to take the first step, and your decisions will lead to nothing but more useless meetings...

Finally, don't forget to share your minutes in a discussion group or folder accessible to all interested parties.

7. Set another appointment

If necessary, before ending the meeting, set a date for the next meeting. If it is a follow-up meeting, only invite those directly involved.

To set up effective meetings, try Atolia to combine the best of collaboration in one place (chat, videoconference, shared calendars, co-editing of documents and task assignment).

Templates for meeting agendas and meeting minutes

How to do a good meeting agenda?

A meeting agenda must be concise but complete. It should contain:

  • the objective of the meeting
  • the list of topics to be discussed in the form of questions
  • the elements that require a decision
  • the list of participants
  • the total duration and per element
  • resources in the form of links. An event in an agenda should not be used to store information.

Meeting agenda template

(You can copy and paste it directly into your agenda.)

Meeting name:

Meeting Purpose:

Topics to be discussed and items that require a decision (❗):

  • Topic A - 5 min
  • Topic B ❗ - 10 min

Participants:

Resources:

How to do a good meeting minutes?

To take meeting minutes effectively, someone must be named to take notes. These minutes should list:

  • Those present and absent
  • Decisions made
  • Actions to be taken, by whom and by when
  • The date of the next meeting, if necessary

Sample meeting minutes

(You can copy and paste it directly into your agenda.)

Name and date of the meeting :

Present:

Absent:

Decisions made:

  • Decision A
  • Decision B

Actions to be taken and by whom:

  • Action A - First name - Date
  • Action B - First name - Date

Date of next step or meeting :

Set up your meetings now with Atolia and collaborate more easily (chat, video, shared calendars, document co-editing and project management).

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