State the objective of the meeting explicitly so that everyone knows why they have been brought together.
For formal meetings and meetings requiring preparation, create agenda and distribute it in advance.
For informal meetings or for those called in the midst of change, build the agenda at the start of the meeting by polling participants for items they think should be covered.
Look to the objective and agenda to estimate how long it will take to cover critical points.
Think also about participants' schedules and preferred times.
Schedule meetings to accommodate key participants' calendars.
Take the time to prepare for the meeting. Collect your thoughts and write them down or design a formal presentation.
Request every attendee to prepare for the meeting, as well. Please do that enough time before the meeting that attendees have time to be ready by the meeting time.
When deciding whom to invite to a meeting, look for the "three C's" of participation: The committed, the creative and the competent. These are the people who will help you achieve your objectives.
Agreements are intended to promote positive meeting behavior.
Agreement terms must be clear and observable. You can observe people being on time, but you can't observe them "having a good attitude" because that is too subjective. Agreements must also be entered into freely and remain open to renegotiation. That's far better than simply having participants breaking the agreements!
Some helpful agreements include:
Review the agreements at the beginning of the meeting, to see what applicable to this meeting.
Choose and communicate clearly about the decision-making process at the beginning of the meeting except if the process is standardly used.
Start with clarity about who is to run the meeting and whether the leader will also act as the facilitator.
For meetings where you're facing especially difficult or contentious issues, try to bring in a neutral meeting facilitator to manage the discussion. This makes it more likely that you'll come to a decision, and also allows everyone to participate fully in the discussion.
Determining role assignments at the beginning engages everybody in the process and validates the expectations and contributions.
Who is to play the different roles ?
Capturing and reporting key outcomes of the meeting are critical for follow-up activities. At a minimum, be sure to capture these items in your meeting notes:
Once the meeting has concluded, arrange for the recorder's notes to be posted or distributed to all participants.