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How To Run A Closed Meeting

Running a closed meeting involves setting a clear agenda, inviting only key participants, maintaining confidentiality, making assertive decisions, and ensuring effective communication.

A Closed Meeting, typically observed within business or professional environments, is a type of gathering exclusive to specific attendees or members of an organization. The purpose is usually to discuss sensitive issues, make critical decisions, or exchange information that pertains only to the individuals present. Unlike open meetings, where anyone interested is permitted to attend, closed meetings ensure privacy and confidentiality, proving instrumental when handling matters of great significance or confidential nature that cannot be disclosed to the wider audience or the public in general.

What is the purpose of a Closed Meeting?

A leader holds closed meetings to establish a confidential and trustworthy space for discussing sensitive topics. These meetings allow for team members to express themselves openly without fear of judgment or repercussions. The purpose is to promote honest communication, problem-solving, and decision-making, while fostering a sense of unity and loyalty within the team.

How To Run A Closed Meeting: Step-By-Step


Step 1: Planning a Closed Meeting

Firstly, clarify the meeting’s objectives and goals. This helps decide who should attend based on their input value. Schedule the meeting when most, if not all, attendees are available. To ensure confidentiality, only disclose the details to the necessary parties, keeping specifics from uninvolved individuals.

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Step 2: Sending Invitations

Disseminate meeting invites exclusively to a select group of participants. The invitation should entail vital details such as the designated time and location of the meeting. Furthermore, provide a brief yet succinct description of the meeting’s agenda and its intended purpose to give invitees a clear picture of what to expect.

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Step 3: Setting an Agenda

To ensure maximum productivity in your meeting, it’s essential to compose an in-depth agenda. This should provide an outline of the topics or tasks to be addressed. Distribute this to all participants well ahead of time, enabling them sufficient time to prepare any necessary comments or information. This encourages active participation, informed discussions, and efficient use of the meeting’s allotted time.

Our tool, ZipDo, seamlessly transitions meetings from your calendar to a dedicated collaborative workspace. This space allows for the creation of a communal agenda, with space for input from all team members. By facilitating better preparation, ZipDo not only makes meetings more efficient but also streamlines the entire process surrounding meetings.


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Step 4: Preparing Confidential Materials

If there are sensitive or confidential documents required for the meeting, make sure they are appropriately prepared and safeguarded. It is crucial to limit the accessibility of these materials only to the participants involved in the meeting to respect privacy and confidentiality protocols. Special attention should be paid to guarantee that no unauthorized access or leaks occur before, during, or after the meeting.

Our service, ZipDo, enhances the efficiency of team meeting preparations. It offers meeting leads a centralized source for all past meeting information, including agendas and notes. This not only simplifies preparation but also ensures thorough topic coverage.

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Step 5: Starting the Closed Meeting

Kickstart the meeting by validating the presence of all authorized personnel exclusively. It’s important to underscore to the participants that any exchange of thoughts, ideas or information that takes place within the circumference of this meeting should be treated with utmost confidentiality and not disclosed beyond this room.

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Step 6: Taking Meeting Minutes

An appointed person should meticulously document the proceedings of a meeting. Their role mainly involves recording conversations and decisions without revealing any classified information, especially in cases where the notes are intended for a wider audience, to maintain confidentiality and integrity.

ZipDo, our application, automates the import of calendar meetings, establishing a collaborative workspace for each one. Here, team members can post notes, streamlining both preparation and follow-up processes. This feature fosters improved accountability within the team.

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Step 7: Ending the Meeting

Wrapping up a meeting effectively entails summarizing the discussed points, encapsulating the critical decisions reached, and laying out a concise roadmap of action steps moving forward. This process ensures all attendees are on the same page, fostering clear and unified progress.

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Step 8: Follow-Up

After the meeting, it’s essential to carry out appropriate follow-up actions. This includes drafting and distributing meeting minutes, a crucial step to ensure all attendees are on the same page. Additionally, plan succeeding meetings to address unfinished agenda items or new developments. Furthermore, sending any necessary documents to participants reinforces decisions made and information discussed during the meeting, ensuring everyone remains informed and engaged.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. What are our current goals and objectives?
Explanation: This question helps to ensure that everyone is aligned and focused on the same priorities, allowing the leader to assess whether the team is working towards the intended outcomes.

2. What obstacles or challenges are we facing?
Explanation: Identifying obstacles helps the leader understand the hurdles the team may be encountering and allows for problem-solving and proactive intervention.

3. Are there any opportunities we should consider?
Explanation: By soliciting input on potential opportunities, the leader encourages creativity and innovation within the team, expanding the scope of possibilities for growth and improvement.

4. How are we progressing towards our deadlines and targets?
Explanation: Evaluating progress helps the leader monitor productivity and determine if adjustments to plans or resources are necessary to meet established deadlines and targets.

5. Do we have the necessary resources and support to succeed?
Explanation: This question aims to identify any gaps in resources, whether it be financial, personnel, or technological, and ensures that the team has the necessary support to accomplish their goals.

6. Are there any emerging trends or developments that we should be aware of?
Explanation: By staying informed about industry trends and developments, the leader can anticipate potential impacts on the team’s work and strategize accordingly.

7. What actions can we take to improve collaboration and communication?
Explanation: Focusing on collaboration and communication fosters a positive work environment and enhances team productivity, so the leader can explore opportunities to strengthen these aspects.

8. Are there any specific employee concerns or suggestions we should address?
Explanation: The leader can provide a platform for employees to voice their concerns or provide suggestions, creating a supportive work culture that encourages engagement and employee satisfaction.

9. How can we celebrate our successes and acknowledge achievements?
Explanation: Recognizing and celebrating successes motivates the team and reinforces a positive work culture, which can help to boost morale and maintain high levels of productivity.

10. What steps can we take to continuously improve our performance?
Explanation: By discussing ways to improve performance, the leader encourages a culture of learning and growth, helping the team to develop professionally and achieve higher levels of success.

To prepare a closed-meeting agenda as a leader, start by clearly defining the objective of the meeting. Identify the topics to be discussed, prioritize them, and allocate a specific amount of time for each. Include any pre-read materials or reports necessary for participants to be prepared. Lastly, share the agenda with attendees well in advance to ensure everyone is prepared and knows what to expect.

How To Prepare For A Closed Meeting
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Topics that require utmost privacy and restricted discussion should be reserved for closed meetings. These may include sensitive company financial information, confidential client data, legal matters, proprietary technology, strategic plans, employee performance issues, and discussions about mergers and acquisitions. Closed meetings provide a secure platform for addressing these crucial matters without the risk of compromising sensitive information.

See Our Closed Meeting Template
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Software tools to facilitate a Closed Meeting

Software provides leaders with essential tools to effectively run closed meetings. From secure video conferencing platforms to confidential document sharing and real-time collaboration features, leaders can facilitate discussions, manage agendas, and make data-driven decisions. Additionally, software streamlines communication channels, ensuring that the closed meeting remains productive, efficient, and conducive to achieving the desired outcomes.

Our Recommendations:


Successfully running a closed meeting can be the defining factor towards achieving team objectives and enhancing productivity within an organization. The keys lie in strong planning, enabling open and clear communication, controlling timings, facilitating participant engagement, and ensuring follow-up actions. Adopting these strategies will not only ensure your closed meetings are efficient but also motivate your team members to contribute more effectively. With time and practice, mastering the art of running a closed meeting will undoubtedly lead to significant growth and progress in your individual and organizational endeavors.

Jannik Lindner

I'm Jannik and I write on MeetingFever about the experiences from my career as a founder and team lead.

If you have any questions, please contact me via LinkedIn.

Popular Questions

What is a 'Closed Meeting'?

A ‘Closed Meeting’ is a type of gathering wherein only specified persons or specific members of the group are invited or allowed to attend. It is typically not open to the general public.

Who can attend a 'Closed Meeting'?

Only people who are specifically invited or those who are members of the organization holding the meeting can attend a ‘Closed Meeting’. For example, in a closed Alcoholics Anonymous meeting only those with a stated desire to stop drinking may attend.

What is the purpose of a 'Closed Meeting'?

The purpose of a ‘Closed Meeting’ may vary depending on the context, but it’s generally designed to maintain privacy or confidentiality, foster open discussion among members, or to work on sensitive or internal matters.

Can minutes from a 'Closed Meeting' be released to the public?

Typically, minutes from a ‘Closed Meeting’ aren’t released to the public as these meetings conducted to discuss sensitive or internal matters. However, if the organization opts to release them, they often do so in an edited or redacted form.

What's the difference between an 'Open Meeting' and a 'Closed Meeting'?

An ‘Open Meeting’ is a meeting where any interested person can attend. It’s open to the public and usually publicized. On the other hand, a ‘Closed Meeting’ is only open to a specific group of people or invitees, typically to discuss private, sensitive, or internal matters.

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