Meetings can range from fast-moving and inspiring to slow and demoralising. Here are my thoughts on how to achieve the former.

Meetings can be a real pain, can’t they? They can go on for too long, they can be vague, they can involve people just talking and talking and you not getting your say. So here are my three top tips for effective and, dare I say, enjoyable meetings.

Tip number one: agenda. You might think it’s a great idea to get some people together and to thrash out some ideas and nah, you’ve got a vague nebulous set of goals, you might not even have any goals, so how do you know when you’ve achieved it? How do you know when the meeting should end? Simple answer: you don’t. So have a list of two, three, four, five things. ‘This is what we’re going to talk about.’ ‘These are the things that we need to address.’ Email it out to everyone in advance so that they have a chance to prepare and have some thoughts ready.

Tip number two: let everyone speak. Give them an opportunity to air their genuine thoughts and feelings about each particular topic. Don’t let anyone dominate. And if you’ve got a quiet person in the group, encourage them in the nicest way possible to come forward with what they genuinely think about each of these things. Try and keep it even for everyone so everyone has roughly the same amount of time to speak, including you, if you’re chairing the meeting.

And finally, tip number three: finish on time. Really simple, people have got other meetings to go to. You said it would finish at 11:30, it’s now 11:40 and there’s no sign of a conclusion in sight. Finish on time, or even better, finish early. Ah, the meeting that finished five minutes early. Legend tells of a meeting which actually finished before the time it was supposed to.

So, have an agenda. Let everyone speak and get them to speak. And finally, finish on time or even better, before. That is how you have brilliant, effective and enjoyable meetings.

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