Organising Productive Meetings and Writing Effective Minutes

American writer Dave Barry once said, “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.”  Below are ten top strategies for ensuring that meetings become time well spent.


Know the Objective of the Meeting – meetings are for four reasons only: to communicate, to coordinate, to control and to plan. All four result in decision-making and action. Hold a meeting only if you cannot do it alone.

Have Respect for Time – begin on time and end on time. Maintain tight meeting control and dismiss attendees who arrive late. Allocate a time for each item on the agenda.

Observe Professional Meeting Etiquette state the purpose and the objective of the meeting on the agenda. Allow people to contribute without dominating the discussion. Do not allow people to have private conversations.

Follow the Agenda respect the agenda and do not add items. If time runs out, do not extend the meeting as attendees have tight schedules. Request to move important items higher up the agenda.

Apply Agenda Strategies The agenda prior to the meeting is brief and states topics to be discussed. Encourage attendees to write their own notes – they will pay greater attention.

Know Meeting Procedure Meeting procedure is well established and it works. Ensure that minutes are read and accepted, that motions are read, and that meetings are only “closed” if all agenda items are covered. If not, they are “adjourned” until a later date.

Pity the Minute Taker! A professional meeting is reflected in accurate minutes. Write all motions on a white board so they can be written verbatim. Ensure that attendees contribute one at a time without interrupting. Write your own notes on your personal agenda next to each bullet point. Give the minute taker your agenda at the close of the meeting to use with their notes.

Be Assertive Assertiveness is required to handle monopolisers, distracters, snipers and skeptics.

Do not Hold Meetings Outside Business Hours People who convene meetings over weekends or in the evenings show disrespect for attendees and their personal lives. They also advertise their inability to prioritise daily events and to manage their time. Balance in life is vital to control stress.

Distribute Minutes Quickly Meeting minutes must be distributed as soon as possible. Prompt distribution of the minutes will remind attendees to place priority on matters that need attention.

Kwelanga Training has offices based in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and presents public training courses at corporate venues in:

  • Johannesburg – Southern Sun Hotel, Katherine Street, Sandton
  • Pretoria – Southern Sun Hotel, Arcadia, Pretoria
  • Cape Town: Southern Sun Hotel, Newlands
  • Durban: Hilton Hotel, North Beach
  • Port Elizabeth: Cherry Place, Walmer

On-site training can be presented at any location in Southern Africa, our facilitators will train at your premises

For further information contact:
Julie Shoobridge
Tel: +27 11 704 0720


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