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Meeting Planning Checklist

Some folks will tell you that meetings are a complete waste of time. They don’t have to be — as long as you know why you are meeting, you have verified that a meeting is the most efficient way to accomplish the goal at hand, and the meeting is well-run and organized.

How To Know If You Should Meet

Checkmark-Icondetermine if the costs of the meeting are justified by the objective

Xmark-Iconadd up salary, overhead, travel time, expense, and lost productivity

Checkmark-Iconmultiply that by the number of attendees to determine the cost

Xmark-Iconthen ask why you are meeting — what you hope to accomplish

Checkmark-Iconis your goal to disseminate information? brainstorm? make a decision?

Xmark-Iconif the objective can be reached without a meeting, skip it

Checkmark-Icontake care of the issue via phone, e-mail, or a memo instead

Xmark-Iconask if all the people on your list need to attend

Checkmark-Iconremove “dead weight” from the list (slows down the meeting)

Preparing For Your Meeting

Xmark-Icondevelop an agenda before the meeting

Checkmark-Iconagenda should explain why, when, where, who, and what

Xmark-Iconask participants to contribute important items to the agenda

Checkmark-Icondistribute to participants at least a week in advance

Xmark-Iconask attendees to review the agenda and prepare questions

Checkmark-Iconconfirm with attendees the day prior to the meeting

Xmark-Icondecide on the ground rules before starting and list them on a board

Checkmark-Iconincludes attentive listening, not interrupting, being prepared, etc.

Running The Meeting

Xmark-Icondesignate a recorder (other than the leader) to keep minutes

Checkmark-Icondesignate a timekeeper to keep everyone on track

Xmark-Iconstick to the agenda and assign a time limit to each agenda item

Checkmark-Iconif discussion gets off course, don’t be afraid to cut people off

Xmark-Iconwrite down topics to be tabled for future discussion on a list

Checkmark-Iconschedule a separate meeting to discuss that issue, if necessary

Timing Is Everything

Xmark-Iconestablish a firm start and ending time

Checkmark-Iconchoose an odd time to begin — 11:05 AM — to improve punctuality

Xmark-Iconschedule in advance to allow participants to plan their schedules

Checkmark-Iconschedule before lunch or quitting time to keep it short and focused

Xmark-Iconreward those who arrive on time with a treat

Checkmark-Icondon’t wait for latecomers unless they are critical to starting

When You Are The Attendee

Xmark-Iconquestion whether your attendance is necessary

Checkmark-Iconconfirm the location and time the day before the meeting

Xmark-Iconget directions, if necessary

Checkmark-Iconreview the agenda and prepare any questions or concerns

Xmark-Iconbe on time and prepared

Checkmark-Iconstay focused on the discussion at hand so you can get out on time

Wrapping Up Your Meeting

Xmark-Iconestablish clear wrap-up procedures

Checkmark-Iconask for a signal from the time keeper a few minutes before the end

Xmark-Iconleader should reach a conclusion and summarize group’s progress

Checkmark-Icondevelop an action plan based on the meeting discussion

Xmark-Iconassign follow-up items to specific members of the team

Checkmark-Iconset a deadline for reporting back

Xmark-Iconask for status reports prior to next meeting to include in agenda

Checkmark-Iconstate the next meeting time, date, place, and adjourn

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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