Yes, we all have too many let's at least stay organized! → Discover ZipDo

How To Run A Formal Meeting

Conduct a formal meeting by preparing an agenda in advance, setting clear objectives, imparting the agenda to all attendees, upholding dialogue discipline, recording minutes, and ensuring follow-ups post-meeting.

A formal meeting is a pre-arranged gathering of individuals or teams often within a professional setting, where specific topics, strategies, or issues are discussed according to a pre-determined agenda. It is usually led by a chairperson or a leader who guides the discussion, manages the flow of conversation, and ensures that the meeting is conducted in an orderly and efficient manner. Formal meetings often involve note-taking or minutes recording, decisions making, and may even result in action items for attendees. These meetings may be governed by bylaws or a constitution to ensure that all discussions and actions are carried out systematically and in line with the organization’s operational framework.

What is the purpose of a Formal Meeting?

The purpose of running a formal meeting as a leader is to effectively communicate important information, make decisions, and delegate tasks. It provides a structured platform for team members to share updates, brainstorm ideas, and address concerns. A well-run meeting helps promote collaboration, ensures everyone is on the same page, and maximizes productivity.

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


Step 1: Planning the Meeting

The meeting’s central aim must firstly be established, followed by identifying participants who can contribute the most to that goal. Decisions to be made, including action points and targets, should be defined. Consideration of schedules will help pick a suitable date and time. The venue should be spacious, comfortable, and well-equipped, therefore adequate time should be set aside to secure such a location.

Next Step

Step 2: Invitation

Ensure to dispatch a formal invitation to all essential attendees, furnishing key details like the date, time, and venue of the meeting. The invite should clearly delineate the primary objective of the gathering. Most importantly, embed a provisional agenda within the invitation, detailing individual topics intended for discussion, to guide conversation and enable optimal time management during the meeting.

Next Step

Step 3: Preparation

Ensure all indispensable materials and resources for the meeting are gathered. This involves documents or presentations that necessitate review. For critical discussion points, it may be essential to conduct initial research or hold preliminary conversations. Having everything prepared in advance can facilitate a more efficient and fruitful meeting.


Want to run a better meeting? Try ZipDo, our Meeting Note Software.

  • Connect your Google Calendar
  • Automatically create a note for every meeting
  • Organize your meetings and meeting notes in a channel like Slack
Learn more about ZipDo
Next Step

Step 4: Establishing Rules

As a meeting expert, it’s essential to establish ground rules like active listening while others speak, turning off mobile devices, and strict adherence to the start and end time. These practices instill a sense of formality and discipline, facilitating smoother proceedings, mitigating potential disruptions, and heightening the overall productivity and effectiveness.

Next Step

Step 5: Conducting the Meeting

As a meeting expert, your role is to execute the meeting in adherence to a predetermined agenda. Your task involves steering the conversation, guaranteeing representation for everyone’s views, skillfully managing any conflicts or disagreements that may arise, and assertively making necessary decisions. Integrated into your function is the assurance to maintain a balanced communication environment that aids open conversation and promotes collective decision-making.

Next Step

Step 6: Recording Minutes

Appoint an individual to diligently record comprehensive minutes of the meeting. This includes noting attendees, discussions, resolutions made, and assigned tasks. These minutes constitute an official record, providing an invaluable reference point for future follow-ups and a clear overview of meeting proceedings.

Next Step

Step 7: Review and Close

Summarize the paramount discussion points that took center stage. Communicate critical decisions taken and outline the consensual future steps in a coherent manner. With everyone in sync, conclude the meeting formally offering an opportunity for final thoughts, reaffirming the next course of action.

Next Step

Step 8: Distributing Minutes

In order to maintain transparency and ensure that everyone is on the same page post-meeting, it is important to share a comprehensive copy of the meeting minutes with all attendees. This provides a thorough record of the discussions, agreements, and even disagreements during the meeting. Further, it allows all attendees to confirm their designated tasks and responsibilities. This practice helps to keep everyone aligned, fostering greater collaboration, clear communication, and efficient action task tracking among team members.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. What is the objective of this meeting? – This question helps to clarify the purpose and desired outcomes, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and focused on the right goals.

2. What are the challenges we are currently facing? – By identifying and discussing challenges, the leader can gather insights, facilitate problem-solving, and encourage collaboration among team members.

3. What progress has been made since our last meeting? – This allows the leader to gauge the team’s progress, recognize achievements, and address any potential bottlenecks or issues impeding progress.

4. Are there any updates or new information that I need to be aware of? – It’s important for the leader to stay informed about any relevant updates or changes that might impact the team’s work or decisions being made.

5. What are our priorities at the moment? – This question helps to focus the team on the most important tasks and ensures alignment with overall objectives.

6. How can we improve our processes or operations? – This inquiry encourages continuous improvement and identifies potential areas for increased efficiency or effectiveness.

7. Are there any resources, support, or information that the team needs? – By understanding the team’s needs and potential barriers, the leader can provide appropriate support and resources to ensure success.

8. Are there any risks or potential obstacles that we should address? – Identifying and discussing risks and obstacles in advance allows the leader to mitigate potential problems and develop contingency plans.

9. How can we better collaborate and communicate within the team? – This question encourages open dialogue, enhances teamwork, and fosters a positive working environment.

10. Does anyone have any additional questions or concerns? – Providing an opportunity for team members to raise questions or concerns ensures that everyone’s voice is heard and reduces potential misunderstandings or unaddressed issues.

Learn how to prepare a Formal Meeting

As a leader preparing for a formal meeting, it is important to create an agenda that outlines the meeting objectives, topics to be discussed, and a designated time frame for each discussion point. Be sure to include any necessary materials or documents for attendees to review prior to the meeting.

Want to increase your meeting productivity? Use our meeting template to kickstart your next meeting.

See Formal Meeting Template
Meeting Template Icon

Software tools to facilitate a Formal Meeting

Software helps leaders run formal meetings by streamlining the process. It provides tools for creating agendas, scheduling meetings, sending reminders, and taking notes. It also enables participants to collaborate in real-time, track action items, and generate comprehensive meeting reports. With software, leaders can effectively manage and organize their meetings, ensuring efficiency and productivity.


Running a formal meeting is not simply about gathering people in a room and discussing a topic. It takes careful planning, clear communication, active listening, and strong leadership. By setting a defined purpose, sticking to an agenda, respectfully managing discussions, and ensuring a suitable follow-up, you can make your meeting productive and beneficial for everyone involved. Remember, the key to an efficient meeting lies in its structure, execution, and clarity of goals. With these strategies in hand, your next formal meeting is set to be a success. Everyone participating should leave the meeting feeling included, informed, and looking forward to making a valuable contribution to your shared objectives.


What is the purpose of a formal meeting?

The purpose of a formal meeting is to discuss critical business matters involving decision-making, policy formulation, problem-solving or updates on company performance. It’s an opportunity for individuals at various levels within an organization to exchange ideas and make crucial decisions.

How can an agenda enhance a formal meeting?

An agenda is very important in a formal meeting. It outlines the topics to be discussed, the order of discussion and the time allocated for each topic. This helps in maintaining focus, staying on track and ensuring that all important points are covered within the established time frame.

What is the role of a chairperson in a formal meeting?

The chairperson oversees the proper conduct of a formal meeting. Tasks include ensuring the meeting starts and ends on time, maintaining order, directing discussions, ensuring that all agenda items are covered, and that all attendees contribute to discussions and decision-making.

How should minutes be taken during a formal meeting?

Minutes should accurately reflect the discussions and decisions of a meeting. This includes the meeting’s date, start and end time, attendees, the agenda, key points from discussions, decisions made, and assigned action items, including who is responsible for each and expected completion dates.

What is the difference between a formal meeting and an informal meeting?

Formal meetings are more structured, have a clear agenda and are usually reserved for important business matters. There are clear roles for participants and minutes are taken. Informal meetings, on the other hand, are generally less structured with a more flexible agenda and are often used for brainstorming, status updates and team building activities.