To accomplish valuable work during a meeting, the meeting should follow the three phases that a meeting goes through. These are opening the meeting, accomplishing the primary purpose, and closing the meeting.
- Opening the meeting includes taking a few minutes to review and agree to the meeting purpose and agenda. This lets everyone know and understand the key objective for the meeting and the time allotments for group action necessary to accomplish the objective. Make sure the agenda is visible throughout the meeting to keep group on track.
- Primary is the actual work time during the meeting. On the agenda, this phase is indicated by items listed with most important item to accomplish first so you are sure it gets done. If the important item requires some data or discussion first, then each step in the process will be listed with the estimated time to accomplish it. If decisions are to be made after a presentation or discussion, the type of decision making method needs to be written in the agenda. Since the agenda is visible to the group, use it to check off action items as completed in the meeting. This will keep the group motivated to continue working on the meeting purpose. It will also keep anyone from having to stop to catch up people who are late or had to step out for a portion of the meeting.
- Closing of the meeting takes some minutes to review what was accomplished, assign outside actions, and do a meeting evaluation with the group. If another follow-up meeting is planned, creating a tentative agenda and setting a possible date for that meeting will be in this phase.
Utilizing an agenda and following the meeting phases of opening, primary, and closing will make the accomplishment of work during a meeting be more productive and therefore increase the value of the time spent.