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Make meetings more effective

As a startup CEO you always want to make meetings more effective.

Here is how to make meetings more effective:

Before the meeting

  • Hold only short meetings with small groups of only the right people in your startup that address only one topic. If you must have longer meetings invite people only to the portion impacting them
  • The essential goal of any startup meeting is an agreement(s), decision(s), or a solution(s). If the meeting is to be held for a differing goal – think through if it is worth holding the meeting. Otherwise your meeting investment will not produce a profit.
  • Thus it is better to invest time in solution development. Otherwise you may be fixing something in a way that is more for your startup.
  • Do not allow unnecessary meetings to be scheduled.
  • Prepare an achievable goal for each meeting. Challenge the goal to be sure the meeting is necessary. Meetings should only perform team tasks.
  • Always prepare and distribute an agenda in advance so that participants can prepare. Use a time budget for topics. Be sure that attendees feel an appropriate sense of urgency.
  • Pre-go-over key topics with the right sub-group before the meeting.  Listen to their reactions.  Prepare your discussion points based on this feedback.
  • You may be able to get all the strategy or even solutions in place before the meeting
  • Before the meeting prepare written questions and suggestions. Focus on the discussion during the meeting.
  • Do not invite the un-involved.  Do not invite attendees who have no significant role to play in the meeting
  • Ask everyone to arrive five minutes early.

During the meeting

  • Always start the meetings on time. End on time.
  • If you are responsible for a meeting; be sure that you are in control of it.
  • Manage unprepared participants who will try to spend time in the meeting preparing
  • for the meeting.
  • Manage those who want to talk too much
  • If you attend a meeting with no agenda; then stay and develop the agenda or walk out of the meeting.
  • If a meeting chair allows a meeting focus to wander; ask questions to get the meeting refocused. If a meeting does wander out of control; adjourn; reconvene with a strategy well prepared in advance.
  • Watch the attendees during discussions of key topics. Do they agree or not? This will help you to focus the discussion.
  • Manage any hostile culture issues.
  • The chair or another should make key summary statements for the record
  • Use structured activities
  • Useful meetings involve the sharing of control and the making of commitments by the appropriate attendees.

After the meeting

  • Distribute minutes to all who have reason to be interested (rather than invite them all to the meeting)
  • Follow-up on all decisions and commitments.


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