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Dia Gainor’s Tips for Running an Efficient Meeting

  1. Start with a written agenda that’s distributed in advance to whomever is attending. This should include specific topics for discussion. Also include times allotted for the discussion, either in the agenda or as part of the orientation prior to the meeting.
  2. Make sure everyone understands the desired outcome of the meeting, whether it’s a decision, a vote or information gathering.
  3. Stick to your agenda and the times, but stay flexible. “You have to find a balance between the group preference and adhering blindly to the agenda,” Gainor says.
  4. Don’t get so involved in the discussion that you forget to run the meeting. “A key element of success is paying very, very careful attention to each individual member, noticing if they are getting frustrated, if they are getting fidgety and it’s time for a break, or if they look concerned about the direction of the conversation but haven’t spoken up.”
  5. Let attendees be heard, but realize you may need to deny someone a chance to speak. “There is a certain amount of choreography that makes a successful meeting more likely and prevents it from spinning out of control,” Gainor says.

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