Corollary to Murphy’s Law: A meeting will expand to fill the time allotted to it.

Tired of meetings that just go on and on and on without any end in sight? It does not have to be that way. Good meetings take planning, direction and effective guidance from the leader, usually the President or Chairman of the Board.

Here is a quick list of ideas to help anyone run a targeted and productive meeting without wasting everyone’s time:

  • Have a stated reason for the meeting published at the top of the agenda in the meeting announcement. “The purpose of this meeting is to decide on the budget for next year.”


  • Use measurements to determine success. “When this meeting concludes, the following items need to be resolved.” This will determine to all if the meeting was successful or not.


  • Use written committee report forms. These are filled out ahead of time and distributed in enough time for board members to review. Break the form into different parts for easy review and action. Subsections might be: progress made on previously assigned items, assignments for future items, items which need to be discussed now and recommendations which require action by the Board.


  • Use a Consent Agenda. Put items that do not need to be discussed on a consent agenda at beginning of meeting. These might be the minutes of the previous meeting and routine committee reports (see above) in which no action is need. Everyone present must agree the items placed on the consent agenda; Otherwise the item in question needs to be left on the agenda and talked about when it is time.

Finally, have fun. Work collegially. Celebrate successes. Recognize volunteer and staff accomplishments. Meetings are designed to make progress. Make sure your meetings do that

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