The most important thing I have learned about running an effective meeting is...

Share the one thing you would recommend to others when considering running their next meeting...

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Have a (realistic) agenda and stick to it. Be respectful of people's time. Don't let one or two people take over the meeting; have a firm but friendly leader who keeps things moving. Better yet--and this is my favorite--announce at the beginning that you want to keep things moving, meet the objectives of the meeting and ask for the audience's permission to inject yourself to meet the first two goals. You'll gratefully get it.

Be clear in your objectives and clear in when the time that the meeting begins and ends.

It helps me to stay on track and reduces wasted time for everyone. 

Also, establish clear after-meeting notes as to what decision (if any) was established and who/ when needs to do what was agreed upon.

Good suggestions.  I like to hold meetings to solve real problems and address strategic issues.  Too many of our meetings are "meetings to inform", where we tell people what we have already done, OR "meetings to persuade", where we try to persuad people of the wisdom of the actions we want to take or have already taken. 

The best meetings put problems firmly on the table.  Leaders faclitate an interactive process where people brainstorm ideas, prioritize them and plan action steps to address issues such as: How can we reach out to young families in our community?  How can we increase attendance at Mass?  How can we enhance the stewardship of our parish

When we hold "meetings to problem solve", people feel engaged and they come back to the next meeting eager to do more.  When we hold "meetings to inform" or "meetings to persuade", participation is weak, and attendance goes down.  It all starts with the humility of the leaders to admit they dont have all the answers and the willingness to create common goals and a shared vision. 

 

Great suggestions, all.

Running a meeting in the business world seems to be very different from running a meeting with volunteers within the Parish.  It seems as though the Parish meetings are more for the purpose of Communio and not so much for Missio.  I'll be honest, it drives me nuts.  In my next meeting, I plan to ask if there are any needed changes to the Agenda.  If none, I will explain the need to keep to the Agenda, and ask someone to be the time keeper.  If this is successful, I should be able to cut the meetings that we have in half.

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