To accomplish valuable work during a meeting, the meeting must follow the three phases that a meeting goes through. These are to open the meeting, achieve the main purpose, and close the meeting.
- Opening The meeting includes taking a few minutes to review and agree on the purpose and agenda of the meeting. This allows everyone to know and understand the key objective of the meeting and the time allotments for group action needed to achieve the objective. Make sure the agenda is visible throughout the meeting to keep the group up to date.
- Primary is the actual working time during the meeting. On the agenda, this phase is indicated by items numbered with the most important item to get done first so you can be sure it gets done. If the important item requires some data or discussion first, 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 should be written on the agenda. Since the agenda is visible to the group, use it to mark action items that were completed in the meeting. This will keep the group motivated to continue working on the purpose of the meeting. It will also prevent someone from having to stop to catch up with people who are late or had to leave during part of the meeting.
- Closure of the meeting take a few minutes to review what has been done, assign external actions and make an evaluation of the meeting with the group. If another follow-up meeting is planned, creating a tentative agenda and setting a possible date for that meeting will be done at this stage.
Using an agenda and following the opening, primary and closing phases of the meeting will make getting work done during a meeting more productive and therefore increase the value of time spent.