Skip to main content
Microsoft 365
February 10, 2023

How to run a productive meeting

If you’re in charge of running meetings, it’s important that you make sure each one is useful and productive. Unproductive meetings are often boring and are a poor use of time. Whether you oversee virtual meetings or in-person meetings, it’s important to make sure each meeting is interactive, engaging, and productive for everyone involved.

Meetings are unavoidable. We need them to stay organized and communicate effectively. However, a meeting that is too long, unorganized, or has unclear goals can discourage meeting members or even feel like a waste of time. If you want to run better meetings, follow these productive meeting tips.

Your Outlook can change everything Banner
Microsoft 365 Logo

Your Outlook can change everything

Spend less time organizing your life and more time enjoying it with Outlook

Learn More

What is a productive meeting?

A productive meeting is one that:

  • Improves your team’s communication
  • Solidifies goals
  • Shares deadlines
  • Enhances teamwork
  • Builds team confidence to complete tasks or goals

Understanding the aspects of a productive meeting is the first step in working toward one.

How to make meetings more productive

With the right planning, you can easily lead a useful meeting. Follow these steps to plan and run a productive meeting.

Set meeting objectives

To run a productive meeting, you’ll need to define the purpose of the meeting. Write down what you want the meeting to accomplish. To help define the meeting objectives, ask yourself why you want to hold the meeting in the first place. Are you running the meeting to educate the attendees on a new topic or concept? Is the meeting supposed to iron out logistics for a new project? Are you holding the meeting to create a new marketing strategy? No matter what the purpose of the meeting is, defining your objectives will make it organized and useful.

Create an agenda

Creating an agenda is key to running a productive meeting. Outline the points you would like to discuss in the meeting in chronological order. If you are running the meeting, you may want to also include time stamps for each agenda topic. This will help you keep on track during the meeting and ensure that the meeting doesn’t go on for longer than necessary. It can also help you gauge how long the meeting will run in general—this will come in handy when you send out your meeting invite.

Another reason why creating an agenda is important for a productive meeting is that it’s a great way to figure out what does and doesn’t need to be discussed. When you create your agenda, you may realize that some points are redundant or unnecessary. Trimming down your meeting to crucial points will make it more productive for everyone.

Invite the right people

Having a productive meeting isn’t just about discussing the right topics and having a clear agenda. It’s also important that you invite the right people to the meeting. It’s essential that you invite people to the meeting who will benefit from it and contribute to it. If you’re not sure if a particular person will benefit from the meeting, you can always make the meeting optional for them, or record the meeting so that they can watch it when they have time.

When you invite people to your meeting, be sure to send a calendar invite. Include the agenda in the invite so that invitees are prepared and can show up with the right questions.

Manage your time and stay on-topic

To keep your meeting engaging, try to keep it short and sweet. Time is valuable, and no one wants to be in a meeting for longer than necessary. Plus, you don’t want your invitees to become bored and lose focus—if no one is paying attention, you won’t have a useful meeting. Creating an agenda is important because it will help guide your meeting. Follow the agenda to stay on topic and be sure to watch the clock to make sure you aren’t going overtime.

Make it engaging and interactive

To keep invitees focused, it’s important that your meeting is engaging and interactive. Come up with a few questions before your meeting to ask the invitees to keep them engaged. When you make a meeting interactive, it will make participants feel more comfortable with contributing and asking questions. Not only does this make the meeting more interesting for everyone else, but it can also create a more productive environment.

To make your meeting engaging, consider making a PowerPoint with vibrant colors, relevant videos, or funny GIFs. It’s the little things that can take a meeting from boring to entertaining!

End with a summary

To wrap up your meeting, end with a summary of the important points discussed in the meeting. If you created a PowerPoint for your meeting, it can be helpful to make its last slide a summary with bullet points as some people are visual learners.

For your summary, you may want to reiterate any relevant deadlines, instructions, or key takeaways. Make sure to share your contact information with the attendees in case they need to follow up later or ask you any questions.

When your meeting is productive, the attendees will thank you. Ensuring your meeting is useful and informative will ensure great teamwork and better outcomes for everyone who attends. If you’re feeling nervous about running a meeting, learn how you can project confidence.

Get started with Microsoft 365

It’s the Office you know, plus the tools to help you work better together, so you can get more done—anytime, anywhere.

Buy Now

Topics in this article

Microsoft 365 Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, and Family Safety Apps
Microsoft 365 Logo

Everything you need to achieve more in less time

Get powerful productivity and security apps with Microsoft 365

Buy Now

Explore Other Categories