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Checklist for Effective Meetings

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Many business meetings are essential for communication and management, according to an article on “Business Balls.” However, people dread meetings they perceive to be inefficient, unorganized and wastes of time. Before you send out the next meeting invitation, use a meeting checklist to prepare for it. This type of tool helps to streamline the meeting’s goals and identify necessary participants and actions.

Pre-Meeting Checklist

Most successful meeting planners pre-plan all meeting activities and items before sending out invitations. Pre-meeting activities include choosing a convenient day and time for meeting, booking the meeting location (such as a conference room, event hall or private restaurant room), and deciding who needs to be at the meeting. Many meetings get off track by simply not having essential decision makers at the table or by having too many opinionated participants who throw everyone off the main topic. Other essential items for the pre-meeting checklist are the meeting agenda, with time periods for each section or topic of the meeting; all presentation tools, including laptop connections, conference call telephone lines and handouts; and lunch or refreshments. Most meeting planners also designate a meeting note taker at this time.

Meeting Checklist

When the meeting starts, most efficient meeting leaders use a checklist to ensure no agenda items are missed or forgotten. Checklist items include taking a roll call of meeting attendees, reviewing the last meeting’s notes and clearly defining the current meeting’s agenda. Most meeting agendas include the definition of a problem, brainstorming of solutions, voting on solutions and resolution of the problem. Many meeting leaders include items such as “make sure to ask for and receive opinions from all participants,” especially when they have other vocal, opinionated attendees. Be sure to discuss the next steps before the meeting ends.

Post-Meeting Checklist Items

There are usually several actions to take after a meeting, and a meeting checklist can help to make sure nothing is forgotten or overlooked. Some of the post-meeting checklist items may include typing up the meeting notes, distributing the notes and following up on next steps. Some next step items may include researching topics more thoroughly, meeting with additional shareholders or setting a date for a follow-up meeting. Other examples of these types of items are creating a task force, getting meeting participants’ feedback and communicating any major decisions to the rest of the company.