How to Run Effective Meetings


by, Kim Shiver, M.Ed, Speaker, Communications Strategist & instructional Design Consultant

Have you ever been in a meeting that seemingly went on forever? One where people rambled incessantly on a variety of topics. You had no idea why you were there, and nothing got done.

In business, and in life, there are times you may be called on to run a meeting. The challenge is that most people were never taught you how to run an effective, successful meeting? It’s one of those things where everyone seems to just expect that you know how to do it, and yet, many people don’t.

“Following a Basic Meeting Protocol

can help you run an effective meeting.”

Set a Specific Time for the Meeting

Obviously, you’ll set a start time. Make sure you also set the timeframe for the meeting, for example – one hour. If you can accomplish what you need in less time, do so.

Have an Agenda

This doesn’t mean know what you want to talk about in your head. Have a specific agenda that is published for the attendees to see. Keep in mind the time for the meeting as you create the agenda. People frequently create agendas that could never be covered in the timeframe allotted by the meeting.

Call the Meeting to Order on Time

It may sound like common sense, but in practice, it frequently doesn’t happen. When you start a meeting on time, you set the tone for success.

Keep to the Agenda

The key job of the person running the meeting is to manage the agenda. This is critical to keep the meeting on point and within the time limit. If you get to an item that seemingly cannot be completed, table it for the next meeting or for a special session. If this is a meeting where the one item must be completed, table the other items and move forward to complete this one item.

Focus on the Core

One issue that happens when working on a specific task is that people get bogged down in details that may not affect the overall project or group. Focus on the core of the project and move the minutia out of the meeting. For example, have specific people responsible for the small details complete them and report back to the group.

End on Time with Steps Moving Forward

Just as you want to start on time, you should end on time to respect the time of those in the meeting. Don’t just stop the meeting. Spend the last 5 minutes of the meeting wrapping up what you’ve accomplished. Assign what needs to be done in the next meeting or between meetings.

For a sample of what this might look like in action along with more information on running effective meetings, see


Kim Shivler, M.Ed. is a speaker, communications strategist, and instructional design consultant. She helps businesses increase sales, improve customer service, and build effective teams. Learn more about her programs at