How to run a meeting

What's it for? Every meeting must have clear objectives, so don't call one to chat about Wife Swap.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

What's it for? Every meeting must have clear objectives, so don't call one to chat about Wife Swap. Prepare an agenda and stick to it. Omit Any Other Business – it's an invitation for windbags to take over.

Who to invite?To keep the discussion focused, ask only the people who will progress the objectives of the meeting. Tell invitees what to prepare and how long it will take.

Ready? Come prepared and always arrive on time. Switch off your mobile, ask where to sit and make sure you're introduced to everyone.

Act professionally. Don't doodle, yawn, click your pen or crack your knuckles. Listen attentively and don't labour your points.

Disagree? When putting across your point, always be courteous, never sarcastic or insulting. Be rational and calm in your arguments, and avoid making personal criticisms.

Don't waffle. Keep things moving by sticking strictly to tight time limits. If you really want to speed things along, follow Archie Norman's example of holding meetings standing up.

What was said? Minutes or notes of action points should be taken and sent to attendees, ideally within 48 hours. Formal minutes should be approved by the chair before being circulated. Keep schtum about what was said, unless you are told otherwise.

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