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How To Run A Professional Meeting

Run a professional meeting by setting a clear agenda, starting and ending on time, encouraging participation, making decisions, documenting and communicating outcomes, and showing respect to all attendees.

A professional meeting is a gathering of individuals in a formal setting, typically within the workplace or related to a business or organization’s activities. This type of meeting serves specific purposes such as discussing company goals, project updates, making decisions, problem-solving, or team building. It involves a structured agenda, clearly defined roles for participants, and generally expects adherence to a certain standard of decorum. Effective professional meetings can foster collaboration, enhance communication, ideate innovative strategies, and contribute to organizational growth and productivity.

What is the purpose of a Professional Meeting?

The purpose of running a professional meeting as a leader is to effectively communicate important information, make decisions, gather input from team members, and align everyone towards common goals. It provides a platform to exchange ideas, address challenges, and foster collaboration, ultimately ensuring that the team is on track and working towards success.

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


Step 1: Preparation

In this stage, the meeting facilitator must distinctly stipulate the aim and objectives of the meeting. Careful selection of participants who can contribute meaningfully is important, as is choosing the right time and location to encourage maximum participation. Moreover, the development and dissemination of a well-planned agenda ahead of time assist with effective communication. It gives attendees a clear understanding of the meeting’s content, enabling them to adequately prepare their inputs, thereby ensuring a more productive and efficient meeting.

Our platform, ZipDo, is designed to ease the preparation of team meetings. By providing a centralized repository for all information from previous meetings, meeting leads can effortlessly access agendas and notes. This streamlined process helps in covering all essential topics without fail.

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Step 2: Set the Agenda

The meeting leader should establish an agenda, enumerating the subjects for discussion. The outlined agenda needs to exhibit explicit understanding of what should occur in the meeting, including specified intervals for in-depth discussions, critical decision-making opportunities, and pivotal announcements, thus directing the conversation for optimal productivity.

Our platform, ZipDo, facilitates the integration of calendar appointments into a single collaborative space. This space is dedicated to constructing a joint agenda, where every team member has the opportunity to add their topics. By doing so, it guarantees more comprehensively prepared meetings, optimizing efficiency and easing the preparation and follow-up stages.

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Step 3: Communicate the details

The fine details of the meeting- such as the date, the time it starts and ends, the place where it will be held, the agenda topics, and any necessary background material- should be communicated to every participant. Communication could be done through a formal meeting invitation sent by email, or through digital calendar invites like Google Calendar or Outlook which are convenient and efficient. Making sure all participants have this information ensures everybody arrives well-prepared and the meeting can run smoothly and efficiently.


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Step 4: Start the meeting

Starting the meeting on time is crucial to demonstrate respect for the participants’ time. Begin by clearly outlining any established rules or guidelines. This sets the tone and expectations for the meeting. Then, quickly run through the agenda to provide a brief overview of the objectives and topics to ensure everyone understands the purpose of the meeting.

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Step 5: Facilitate the meeting

A meeting leader effectively guides the team along the pre-designated agenda, facilitating active engagement and seamlessly addressing divergent viewpoints. Vigilantly keeping everyone aligned with the agenda, they competently steer the entire team towards the defined objectives, thus ensuring constructive and productive meetings.

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Step 6: Decision Making

Achieving a consensus on discussion points may involve various strategic methods. One could encompass tossing up votes, implying democratic decision-making, ensuring everyone’s perspective is accounted for. Alternatively, the decision could be made directly, often by the authority or leader in the room. Additionally, the responsibility of decision-making can be delegated to an individual or a smaller group, who might have more expertise or interest in the specific topic.

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Step 7: Recording Minutes

In any meeting, it is vital to assign someone the role of recording the significant points discussed, decisions settled upon, and the corresponding actions to be taken. This individual should also notate who is responsible for each task, creating a clear record for reference and accountability.

With ZipDo, our creation, you can streamline your meeting minutes process. The app organizes meetings from your calendar into channels, where team members can be invited for access. Posting the minutes in the workspace allows for automatic distribution, ensuring the entire team is always informed.

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Step 8: Closing the meeting

I’d like to summarize our key points and decisions made today, as well as outline our next steps. A heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you for your valuable contributions and time invested in this meeting. Your input is greatly appreciated.

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Step 9: Follow-up

Post-meeting, the leader or appointed individual circulates the minutes to all attendees and relevant non-participants. It’s crucial they monitor and track every finalized responsibility and deadline to ensure effective execution and delivery within the agreed timeframe, this fosters accountability and productivity.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. “What are the main objectives of this meeting?” – This question helps clarify the purpose and goals of the meeting, ensuring everyone is on the same page and focused on the desired outcomes.

2. “Who should be involved in this discussion?” – By identifying the right participants, the leader ensures that all key stakeholders are present, their perspectives are considered, and decisions can be made with input from those who matter.

3. “What are the challenges or obstacles we may face in achieving our goals?” – Identifying potential challenges allows for proactive planning, problem-solving, and mitigation strategies, ensuring smoother progress toward the desired outcomes.

4. “What progress has been made since the last meeting?” – Assessing progress helps track performance, encourages accountability, and enables necessary adjustments to ensure the meeting stays on track and goals are being met.

5. “Are there any additional agenda items anyone would like to discuss?” – This question allows for inclusivity, ensuring that participants feel heard and have an opportunity to contribute to the meeting’s agenda.

6. “What resources or support do we need to achieve our objectives?” – By identifying required resources and support, leaders can address any gaps and ensure that the team has what it needs to successfully execute plans and reach desired outcomes.

7. “How can we ensure effective communication and collaboration during this meeting?” – This question encourages the team to discuss communication norms, expectations, and strategies, fostering a more productive and collaborative meeting environment.

8. “What decisions need to be made, and who should be responsible for each?” – Clarifying the decisions to be made, as well as assigning responsibilities, ensures that tasks are delegated, deadlines are set, and progress isn’t hindered due to lack of clarity or accountability.

9. “What actions should we take following this meeting, and what are the next steps?” – Identifying actionable steps and next milestones helps keep the team focused on implementation and ensures that progress continues after the meeting concludes.

10. “Do any team members have any concerns or suggestions they would like to express?” – This question encourages open communication, empowers team members to voice their opinions or concerns, and fosters a collaborative and supportive environment.

11. “Are there any emerging opportunities or potential risks that we should be aware of?” – By addressing potential opportunities and risks, leaders can encourage proactive planning, capitalize on emerging trends, and manage potential threats effectively.

As a leader, preparing a professional meeting agenda is crucial for a successful and productive discussion. Start by identifying the main objectives and desired outcomes, then outline the topics to be discussed. Include time limits for each item and allocate resources or responsibilities accordingly. Distribute the agenda in advance to allow participants to come prepared and ensure the meeting stays focused and on track.

How To Prepare For A Professional Meeting
Meeting Preparation Icon

Topics that should be discussed during a professional meeting include project updates, long-term goals and strategies, team member performance and development, budget and resource allocation, challenges and potential solutions, and client feedback. It is important to address these topics in order to ensure effective communication, alignment, and progress within the organization.

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

Software helps leaders run professional meetings by providing various features to enhance organization and productivity. It allows them to create and share agendas, set reminders, and track action items. Online collaboration tools enable seamless communication and document sharing, ensuring all participants are on the same page. With integrated video conferencing, leaders can conduct virtual meetings, saving time and resources. Overall, software simplifies the meeting process, enabling leaders to focus on important discussions and decision-making.

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Running a professional meeting effectively is a skill that requires careful planning, clear communication, and strong leadership. Applying the above-listed methods – from defining the purpose and structuring the agenda, to establishing rules and facilitating productive discussions – not only helps keep your meetings streamlined and goal-oriented, but also respects the valuable time of all participants. It fosters a culture of efficiency, engagement, and mutual respect in the workplace. Keep in mind that like any other skill, it takes practice, but with commitment and consistency, you will master the art of running a professional meeting.

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 the purpose of a professional meeting?

The purpose of a professional meeting is to discuss topics of mutual interest, share information, make decisions, and plan strategies related to the business or organization. The exact aim can vary, depending on the meeting’s type and the organization’s needs.

What are the key elements to consider when planning a professional meeting?

The key elements to consider when planning a professional meeting include setting a clear agenda, choosing an appropriate time and venue, ensuring the availability of necessary technical facilities, making sure the right people are invited, and preparing any documents or materials that will be needed.

How can you ensure a meeting is effective?

To ensure a meeting is effective, it can be important to set a clear agenda and share it with the participants in advance. During the meeting, encourage participation from all members, keep discussions on track, and document outcomes and decisions made. Afterwards, follow up on actions agreed upon during the meeting.

What role does communication play in professional meetings?

Communication plays a crucial role in professional meetings. Clear and effective communication helps to ensure everyone understands the agenda, the meeting’s purpose and their roles, which helps in decision making. In addition, good communication helps to resolve conflicts, promotes teamwork, and builds a stronger organization.

How can technology assist in making professional meetings more efficient?

Technology can significantly increase the efficiency of professional meetings. For instance, videoconferencing tools allow for remote participation, reducing travel time and expenses. Collaboration tools can help in real-time sharing and editing of documents. Also, project management software can be used to track the progress of tasks agreed upon during the meeting.

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