Important Tips and Rules on How to Conduct a Business Meeting


No one denies business meetings are an important equation in the running of any business, large or small.

Problem is, some companies have placed too much importance in them, particularly staff meetings, so much so that rather than play to the business’ advantage, they have just become an unwelcome distraction and a total time waster. Many studies on the subject over the years have only served to confirm this.

Little wonder we are establishing a common denominator in the perception of office meetings by employees around the world: meetings suck. Big time. It’s no secret.

But considering we cannot wish them off, perhaps it would be prudent for every business to re-evaluate their tact towards meetings and quantify their impact on the company’s bottom line.

The good news is that it’s possible to improve the effectiveness of business meetings simply by observing a few tips and rules.

Here’s how.

Rule #1 Decide on the Best Way to Hold a Meeting

The truth is, meetings are not something most people are exactly crazy about. Not only do they disrupt work flow, but they also tend to be inconvenient. So, whenever you find yourself with the unenviable task of planning a meeting, don’t just go with the meeting room and boardroom options all the time.

Decide on the most suitable option depending on the type of meeting and agenda at hand. If it’s one to do with delegating tasks between colleagues or checking on the progress of an ongoing project, perhaps it’s better done electronically. But if the meeting looks likely to clock past an hour, then face-to-face is the way to go.

Whether they tell you or not, everyone will be grateful for respecting their time.

Rule #2 Establish Concrete Limits

Good meetings commence and end on time, and this should be part of your company policy when it comes to meetings.

Starting late is like rewarding the tardy and penalising the prompt. Over time, things only snowball for the worse because staff will be conditioned that the action begins well after the announced time.

The same goes for the ending. Don’t forget that people are busy and this will only eat up into the time to get any productive work done.

Meetings tend to fool one into believing they are the most important event to happen at the workplace. While some may be, others are just but an unnecessary distraction.

Rule #3 Set up the Agenda Governed by a Timeline

Assuming you have an agenda in place (lack of an agenda just throws things into a tailspin), allot an amount of time for each item and stick to it religiously.

This ensures you do more than just cross off every item on the agenda: it helps everyone stay focused while at the same time implying the meeting is more likely to culminate into a success.

Rule #4 Set the Tone

It’s also a good idea to set the tone of the meeting by stating the desired outcome. This can happen both at the time of invitation and the start of the meeting.

While you are at it, acknowledge the elephant in the room, especially when dealing with clients. There almost always is one and dancing around the tough stuff will only make things worse.

Rule #5 Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

The key to determining the success of every single meeting is preparation. There is a reason why they are called meetings – not speeches: they require the input of all team members.

Do your homework and go to the meeting armed with well-thought-out ideas that clearly show you were taking this seriously. This can work in your favour eventually. Did you know meetings are a great platform to showcase your other credentials that could lead to that coveted raise or a rung up the corporate ladder?


Other Tips

Here are some other important tips to keep in mind.

#1 Craft your meeting agenda and every proposal around a value proposition. Put yourself in the other stakeholders’ shoes (clients, suppliers, colleagues etc.) by asking yourself what you would want out of the meeting – what’s in it for them?

If you do and deliver this, you can rest assured almost every meeting will be a resounding success.

#2 Listening – While you may have invested lots of time coming up with possible solutions, avoid turning the meeting room into a catwalk event to determine who the best dressed model is. Discipline yourself to listen to the input of your peers.

And when it comes to clients, listening to their needs puts yourself in a position to better offer them a solution. Don’t dive in with your agenda to sell until you completely understand how your offering could be of value.

#3 Avoid overusing technology – In these technology days we live in, well-designed PowerPoint presentations and binders chockfull with colour graphics and data may dazzle an audience, but they both have their place in business.


Bringing tech into meetings can be a costly endeavour, both in terms of time and money. Avoid putting a lot of effort into AV aids and expensive printing, unless you are sure they will add value to the meeting.

Effective business meetings are a core component of a successful business, never forget that.

Online Resources:

  1. Business Meeting Rules

The good news is that it’s possible to improve the effectiveness of business meetings simply by observing a few tips and rules.

  1. Meeting Agenda

Assuming you have an agenda in place (lack of an agenda just throws things into a tailspin), allot an amount of time for each item and stick to it religiously.

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