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How to Keep Meetings Focused

Some meetings seem to last forever without actually accomplishing anything important. In this fast-paced world, it’s essential to stay on track with meetings and avoid wasting everyone’s time. A successful meeting has focus and accomplishes specific goals. These tips will help you keep C-Suite meetings focused and keep participants engaged.

Start on the Right Foot

The start of a meeting can solidify its success or ensure its failure. Oprah starts every meeting she hosts with the same questions: “What is our intention for this meeting? What’s important? What matters?” She has a targeted approach to beginning a successful meeting. The key is focus and clarity. Participants need to understand the purpose of the meeting and what their role is. High performers enter meetings with the desire to have clarity on why the meeting is important because they want the ability to narrow in on what matters and ensure critical objectives are met.

Keep the Size of the Meeting Reasonable

It can be tempting to include everyone in meetings, but it’s much easier to keep a meeting focused when the meeting is small. Meetings should only involve the individuals who are essential for the meeting’s purpose. Employees don’t want to sit through meetings that don’t pertain to them. You will also achieve goals faster when there are fewer participants and minimized distractions.

Control Speeches and Tangents

Meetings commonly become sidetracked by long-winded commentary and tangents. As a manager, your role is to stymie diversions and steer the conversation back on track. While you want employees to take part in discussions, their input should focus on questions and solutions. If someone brings up a point that is important but not relevant to the purpose of the meeting, acknowledge the value of the comment but suggest they discuss it with you after the meeting. You want everyone to feel like their opinions matter, but the meeting should focus on clear objectives.

End the Meeting on a High Note

The end of a meeting should address next steps. Where do we go from here? How can we keep ourselves accountable? In addressing next steps, identify who will be responsible for each and set a definitive time frame. Everyone should leave a meeting on the same page and with clear expectations.

Many of us dread meetings because they often last longer than they need to and lack a clear purpose. You can keep meetings more focuses by establishing clear goals, communicating the purpose of the meeting to participants, and steering the conversation when needed.


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