10 Entrepreneurs Share Fail-Safe Strategies For More Effective Meetings

10 Entrepreneurs Share Fail-Safe Strategies For More Effective Meetings


We asked readers: How do you make the most of everyone’s least favourite work routine? Here’s what they had to say.

1Plan ahead

Set the agenda one week ahead of time. Allow employees to comment on it prior to the meeting so they have time to really think about it – and then stick to the agenda. – T.J. Allan, owner, Ageless Fitness, Gillespie, Ill.

2Be holistic

We use the principles of sociocracy to make meetings valuable. It’s a whole system approach for inclusive decision making, effective governance and the ongoing evaluation and improvement of your organisation. – Abhishek Gupta, technical consultant, Creative n Innovative Research, Jaipur, India

Related: Why You Should Be Swopping Your Lunch Meetings For Spinning Class

3Stand up


Have all-hands-on-deck meetings standing up. We stand in a circle at 9 a.m. every morning and one by one state our goals for the day. Because we’re standing, we’re energised and we move fast. We’re done in 15 minutes. – Aidah Omar, consultant, Leads Gen Expert Pte Ltd., Singapore 

4Make notes

Always have someone taking notes on actionable items – who said they would do what, and when. Then have that person send the notes around after. It helps to move things along and make the meeting meaningful. – Sandi Danilowitz, founder/CEO, The Health Engine, Toronto 

5Get clear

I have people state concerns or questions beforehand. I call this “clearing.” Without it, people will be focused on their problem throughout the meeting – and may derail it to get their point across. Clearing makes the team more focused. – Dylan T. Dahlquist, research assistant, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific,Victoria, B.C.

Related: Counting the Cost of Too Many Meetings!

6Clarify tasks

Everyone writes their weekly must-dos into a Trello board for all to look over. Then we do a quick roundtable to reiterate and clarify. Sometimes verbalising what’s written makes it appear more or less important. – Cliff Harvey, founder, Holistic Performance Institute, Auckland, New Zealand

7Ask and listen


I like to stick to an agenda, but that doesn’t work with every client. For the non-agenda types, I ask what technology problem has been bothering them (We do IT solutions.) The client is able to vent about their previous experiences and then can communicate what they actually need. – Mike Perez, founder and CEO, With Perez, New York 

8Do lunch

My most productive meetings follow a simple formula: no more than five people, and over lunch. When only the key people attend, it prevents loss of focus and time. Lunch is optimal because it removes stress – and the odds that everyone will attend are high. – Dr. Naim Drid, clinical research fellow, Paris VII University, Paris

Related: Running Meetings the Steve Jobs Way

9Constrain them

I worked halfway around the world from my team for a year, and we had enough time for a single 30-minute meeting each day. That forced meetings to be front-loaded with clear action steps. We got very good at asking questions. – Jason Lengstorf, consultant/owner, Bearstone, Austin, Tex. 

10Stay on task

When the discussion starts to digress and it isn’t productive, peers may be hesitant to stop it. A leader will suggest that we discuss the new topic at a later time. Post-meeting I can decide whether to handle via email, call or another meeting. – Andrea Spirov, CEO, The Boss Food Company, Houston, Tex.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.