Most managers are never trained on how to run a meeting that will be productive and positive. Often, meetings are a source of dread for employees when they realize that they would be better off spending their time working than talking about the work they’re doing. But meetings are sometimes essential, so it is critical to learn how to run a meeting that will benefit everyone.

Here are four ways to eliminate the unnecessary aspects of a meeting and make them more effective.

  1. Stick to an agenda.
    Before the meeting starts, send an agenda to your employees. This provides guidelines for how the meeting will run, and lets them know when they can bring up their own questions. Make sure to send it out in plenty of time so someone can ask for an amendment if there is another topic that needs to be discussed. Then, don’t allow the meeting to be derailed.
  2. Always start on time.
    It is often customary to give people a five or 10-minute window to arrive late to a meeting. But this only gives people permission to be late. Always start the meeting on time and don’t catch people up when they come in late. Make this their responsibility. This will train people to arrive on time in the future.
  3. Always end on time.
    Most of the time when meetings go late it is because someone has sidetracked the conversation. Instead, follow the agenda and keep questions short. Provide structure to the entire meeting so people know they can get back to their work by a certain time. Let people know if they have more questions to ask you privately or send an email.
  4. Always keep it short.
    It is great to have a start time and an end time, but the most important stuff should happen in the middle. Two-hour-long meetings are not productive. Even an hour can be too long if the conversation isn’t positive. You don’t want everyone to pay more attention to the work they should be doing than the meeting. Take only enough time to address the topic.

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