6026119711_794f0d7d76 No matter what type of business you own, running effective meetings is essential. Establishing the right parameters is key – and this week’s Friday Five can help.

1) Set a Day and Time. The first step to running a highly effective business meeting is to set a consistent day and time for the meetings to run. Additionally, take into consideration the various factors that will impact your meetings. Strive to schedule meetings when the greatest number of people will be able to attend. Also consider when your employees will be at their best: 5pm on a Thursday, for example, probably isn’t optimal.

2) Establish Guidelines. After you’ve nailed down a day and time for your meeting, the next step is to create an effective meeting structure. The best way to get what you want out of your business meeting is to be organized, set clear objectives and provide guidance on how the meeting will run. Some guideline considerations should include:

  • When to arrive for the meeting
  • Length of meeting
  • How to best prepare for each meeting
  • Expectations of those in attendance

3) Send an Agenda. Whether your meeting is daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, it’s imperative to create an actionable agenda every time you meet. The agenda should be distributed, in advance, to everyone expected to be present. Your agenda should be concise and manageable. A overzealous agenda can lead to frustration. There must be enough time for outlined objectives to be covered in detail with time for questions and input. By providing an agenda in advance, participants can prepare for the outlined objectives – leading to a more productive and successful session.

4) Set the Tone. If you’re hoping to inspire your staffers, increase productivity and engender success, set the right tone at the start of each meeting. Always come prepared, have a strategy to get through the set agenda and encourage participation. If the meeting leader isn’t prepared, it’s unlikely anyone else will take the reins.

5) Follow Up. Accountability is key when it comes to meetings. Be clear on when and how goals should be accomplished. If goals are not met, be sure to have a plan in place for addressing this. And think ahead to the next meeting, so you can cover what’s been accomplished and address what was missed.

Are your meetings a success or a snoozefest? What works for your organization and why?

Featured image (a Google conference room) courtesy of Flickr user Marcin Wichary.