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Productive Meetings

10 Tips for Productive Meetings

Team or committee meetings should be meaningful, purposeful, and participatory, containing problem-solving, decision-making, and accountability elements through reporting. Sadly, this often isn’t the case, leaving participants wary of a meeting’s effectiveness. 


Here are some strategies to determine what aspects need to be addressed to ensure more productive meetings. 

Know what’s expected. Chairing effective team or committee meetings only comes with a clear understanding of what the organization’s goals are and how the team fits into the big picture. For nonprofits, a chairman’s orientation should be provided, separate from a committee orientation. 

It is the responsibility of the Chair to direct the conversation, make assignments, record or have recorded a set of action steps, and hold members accountable for those assignments. Good Chairmen set the agendas after reviewing progress with the team or committee members and the staff liaison. 

Assign tasks evenly and appropriately. Every team should have a different orientation with specific timelines, budgetary constraints, and ultimate goals. Staff members should empower team or committee members to do their jobs. Competent staff values the contributions of volunteers and benefits from personal and team or committee self-growth during the process. 

Conduct a team or committee orientation. If a team or committee member misses an orientation, they should make arrangements to make up that important conversation with the Chairman. The Chair should know the caliber of each team or committee member and what they have to contribute to the goals. 

Accept responsibility. Promise what you can deliver, and deliver with that promise. If the time constraints are unrealistic, acknowledge it and either ask for more time or release yourself from that pledge. Don’t obligate yourself if you can’t be dependable. 

Start on time. Celebrate those people who have “followed the rules.” Yes, exceptions do happen. Allow yourself a few extra minutes for travel arrangements. Arriving late routinely is rude and inconsiderate. 

Finish on time. With a well-planned agenda and directed conversation, conscientious volunteers will make decisions or defer them until more information is received. 

Speak up purposefully. Would you prefer to be known as the person who talks a lot or is well respected for what they have to contribute? Ask enough questions so alternatives can be thoroughly discussed. Introduce best practices or investigate them if you want to learn more. 

Leave your personal agenda at the door. Your role is to do the team or committee’s work, not foster your business’s products and services. 

Plan, consider, decide. Making rash conclusions is often more detrimental than beneficial. In providing adequate time for Murphy’s Law during initial planning sessions, all scenarios should have ample discussion before reaching a consensus. 

Listen, listen, listen. When you attend a team or committee meeting, your time belongs to that organization for the good of its constituents. Contribute with that intention in mind. Remember, your privilege to be included comes with the larger responsibility to achieve the organization’s goals.