1. Ask yourself if the meeting is really necessary. Do you only want to pass on information? If so, maybe you could send an email or a memo. If you need to discuss something, can you deal with the matter by conference call?

C If you decide that you need a meeting, make a list of who needs to attend. It’s a good idea to keep the list as short as possible, as large meetings can be more difficult to keep focused. Suggest that people attend only the parts of the meeting that involve them. This saves time and helps to keep to the agenda.

3. Decide exactly when the meeting will start and finish. Start the meeting at the correct time, whether or not everyone is present. Avoid taking too much time to summarize for people who come late. Schedule a meeting before lunch, at the end of the day, or immediately before another meeting to prevent it from becoming too long.

B Prepare an agenda and explain the aim of the meeting; if there is more than one aim, decide which ones have priority, and make this clear.
Make sure that everyone has an agenda in advance to allow people to prepare for the meeting.

5. Prepare visual aids such as charts, handouts, computer-based presentations or slides.

6. Start off the meeting with short, easier issues before discussing longer, more difficult points.

A Give a specific amount of time for each issue, and move through the agenda systematically. Allow for discussion but avoid digression or repetition.

8. Pay close attention to the time and if a debate on a particular point becomes too long, postpone discussion until the end of the meeting. Try to cover the other issues on the agenda.

D Follow up: Circulate copies of the minutes after the meeting to remind everyone of conclusions and action plans.