How to Chair a Productive Meeting!

Meetings don’t have to be endless to be eternal.

―James E. Faust

Have you been to such meetings were you sit there wishing it wraps up very fast so you can leave?

I guess you’ve experienced it before and you know how painful and tiring it feels.

The chairperson is often responsible for such boring and unproductive meetings.

If the chairperson does not understand that people get fade up with meetings that do not add any value to their lives, they may keep repeating the same mistakes all the time.

If you are a leader, a board chair, a CEO, or a director, you need to reconsider how you chair your meetings.

In this blog-post, I will share with you eight things you can do to coordinate a meeting that will cause people to cherish attending more of your meetings.

1. Arrive early and start on time.

Many chairpersons do not realize that delaying the start time of a meeting because they are waiting for latecomers to show up is an act of disrespect to the early comers.

It is even more disturbing when the chairperson is the one who shows up late and keeps people waiting.

The chairperson must be the first to arrive for a meeting and wait for her members to show up.

Although it is advisable to always give a five minutes interval for latecomers to show up before you begin, it is improper to start a meeting 10-20 minutes late with the excuse that participants didn’t show up on time.

2. Plan ahead of time

A well thought-out plan is the secret of a successful meeting. You must always anticipate everything you will do or say, even before you start the meeting.

Plan for all the resources you will use and jot down everything you will say on a piece of paper or notepad.

Do not act like some chairpersons who assume that they already know what they will say in the course of the meeting.

A good chairperson is always prepared ahead of time, and nothing takes them unaware.

3. Set priorities on the agenda

When planning for a meeting, always place the points on your agenda in order of priority.

Any item that is not urgent and important should be placed at the bottom of the list where they can be ignored or addressed later if there is extra time.

Treat the top two items on your list before moving to the eight other items that might have less impact if not treated.

4. Start on the good foot

A good starting depicts a good ending. If you start poorly you might end up with a disorganised meeting.

You can start your meeting by reciting the mission statement, singing an anthem, saying a word of prayer, or giving a five to ten minutes devotion.

Proceed to read and adopt the agenda and also highlight the purpose for which you are all gathered

You can also cease the opportunity at this time to set the rules of the meeting before you dive into any discussion.

This may include:

  • How you would want to take questions from participants.
  • No one should interrupt another speaker
  • Questions on issues that have already been discussed will not be revisited.
  • Participants should switch off their phones or put them on silent.
  • Everyone is encouraged to share their views. Side talks are not allowed.
  • The meeting will run for a specific time frame so participants should speak to the point and avoid lengthy explanations.

When you set the rules at the beginning of every meeting, ordinariness is likely guaranteed from start to finish. If anyone is deviating from the rules, it is your job is to bring them back to order.

5. Be the pilot.

A good chairperson must constantly steer everyone’s idea back to the point on the agenda.

You can do this by politely telling those who speak beyond their allocated time to drive their point home faster because others need to make their own input.

If you are not conscious that your goal in every meeting is to get to the resolutions faster, you might always steer your meetings off-track.

Constantly remind those who engage in side discussions to turn their attention to the point being discussed. It can be frustrating to have other side meetings in a meeting.

Finally, you do not allow anyone to drag you out of the agenda. Constantly steer the discussion to the point on the agenda.

If someone raises an issue that has already been discussed, politely tell them to wait for the resolutions.

Avoid pulling everyone back to issues already discussed. It irritates early comers.

6. Give people a reason to attend your meetings.

In any kind of meeting―be it a briefing, a planning committee, or a strategic meeting, make it a duty to add value to your participants.

Even if it is a 10-15 minute briefing, coordinate your meetings in such a way that someone can see a need to attend it all the time.

Meetings that are judgmental, full of information, or even disorganized always suck fruitful energy from potential participants. It kills the zeal to attend subsequent meetings.

7. Readout or summarize the resolutions.

Before you round off any meeting, always remember to read out the resolutions.

When people are clear about their expectations, it arouses interest and causes them to commit to action faster.

If participants keep asking their peers to explain to what was discussed in the meeting, it is a sign that the resolutions were not clearly understood.

8. Stop the meeting on time.

There is no excuse to have a meeting dragged out of its specified time because you want to exhaust all the points on your list.

This is a sign that you did not allocate a specific time for each item on your agenda at the start of the meeting.

When people get exhausted in a meeting, they accept and take irrational decisions because they want to leave for other engagements.

Be wise to stop the meeting on time before people want you to stop.


Meetings are avenues for productive uses of our time.

As a leader or chairperson, and it takes courage and wisdom to chair a meeting successfully.

Implementing these tips will make your meetings productive and cause people to take action that produces results.

What are you doing as a leader to make your meetings productive?

Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment box below.

Author: Jini, is a prolific author and founder of Teachersletters Publishing Services. As an award winning teacher with a Cambridge International School in Doaula, he has 13+ years of teaching experience in writing, student-centered learning, bible teachers training and educational leadership. He is consider as one of the best keynote speakers of his time.

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