Do you ever walk out of a meeting and find yourself thinking, “Did we actually accomplish anything in there?” Meetings can be a point of contention in any workplace – what are we meeting about? Why are we meeting so much? Who is in this meeting? How much time will it take? Running an effective meeting is a skill, just like any other skill.

If you are not running an efficient and effective meeting, you are wasting valuable time you and your staff could be using to further your parish’s mission and accomplish day-to-day tasks. And if your staff feels as though their time is not valued, that could lower team morale. Here are a few tips to running an effective meeting:

  1. Set the purpose – Clearly stating the purpose of the meeting allows staff to come with an expectation and understanding of what will transpire. I’ve found it helps staff come more prepared and willing to participate if they know what they are meeting about.
  2. Set a time limit – Some meetings will be long, some will be short, but everyone wants to know how much time they will be in a meeting. My goal for a standard weekly meeting is to be finished within one hour. Be careful here! If you schedule a one-hour meeting, make sure you can cover everything in that time frame, or you’ll have some understandably impatient staffers if it runs long.
  3. Set an agenda – You’ve already told your staff what the meeting is about and how long they will be there. Now allow them to follow a clear meeting outline so both you and your staff know you’re accomplishing what you came here for.
  4. Stay on topic – Having an agenda allows you to accomplish this task. If you find the meeting wandering away from its intended purpose, an agenda helps guide you back to the topic at hand. If a meaningful topic not on the agenda arises during the meeting, table it for the end of the meeting, a different meeting, or speak with the involved parties after the meeting adjourns. This allows you to address its importance while respecting your already-established purpose, time limit and agenda!

The next trick is to start your meetings on time – you can learn more about how to do that here.