How to have better meetings

How to have effective and fulfilling meetings. Stop wasting each other's time by following these rules

We learn a lot in school, but not how work works. In this article, I'll share some (hopefully) helpful tips to have better meetings.

Schedule a meeting ahead to prevent calendar conflicts

Scheduling meetings well in advance can help minimize calendar conflicts and ensure that all the relevant participants can attend. By giving everyone ample notice, you allow your colleagues to plan their time more effectively and reduce last-minute disruptions. Share your calendar with team members and encourage them to do the same, so that everyone can easily find available time slots that work for all parties involved.

Schedule less long meetings (2x 30 mins is better than 1x60 mins)

Instead of scheduling lengthy meetings that may result in fatigue and decreased productivity, consider breaking them into shorter sessions. Research has shown that shorter meetings can be more effective in maintaining focus and engagement. By scheduling two 30-minute meetings instead of one 60-minute session, you encourage participants to use their time more efficiently and stay on track with the agenda.

Add an agenda to the meeting invitation

Adding an agenda to your meeting invite not only helps to set clear expectations but also keeps the discussion focused and on topic. When participants know what to expect, they can come prepared with relevant input, questions, and ideas. A well-structured agenda also allows for a more organized and efficient meeting, ensuring that all important topics are covered within the allotted time.

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End the meeting when the outcome is achieved

There's no need to stretch a meeting to fill the entire scheduled time if the desired outcome has been achieved early. By ending the meeting as soon as the objectives have been met, you give attendees the gift of time and increase their overall productivity. Moreover, concise meetings tend to leave a more positive impression on participants, as they feel that their time has been well spent.

Send written pre-reads (questions, topics, etc.)

Providing written pre-reads before a meeting can significantly improve its efficiency and effectiveness. By sending out relevant materials, questions, and topics in advance, you give attendees the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the subject matter and come prepared with their thoughts and ideas. This approach not only saves time during the meeting but also encourages a more informed and meaningful discussion.

Take meeting notes (or assign someone, alternate)

Taking notes during a meeting is crucial for capturing key points, action items, and decisions made. By designating a note-taker or rotating the responsibility among team members, you ensure that important information is not lost and that everyone remains accountable for their tasks. After the meeting, share the notes with all attendees and any relevant stakeholders who were not present, so that everyone stays informed and aligned.

Share meeting notes so less people have to join

Sharing meeting notes with your team can significantly reduce the number of people who need to attend a meeting. By providing a clear and concise summary of the discussion, you enable those who were not present to stay informed and contribute their input when necessary. This approach not only saves time for those who would otherwise need to attend but also reduces the likelihood of overloading schedules with unnecessary meetings.

Conclusion on better meetings

By following these guidelines, you can create a more efficient and effective meeting culture within your organization. By scheduling meetings strategically, staying focused on the agenda, and sharing information proactively, you can ensure that meetings are more productive and valuable for all participants.

Meeting Etiquette

  • Accept a meeting in your calendar so the invitee can see if you are attending
  • Be on time - or let someone know you’ll be late
  • Don’t overrun the meeting end - respect people’s time, they might have another commitment
  • Block out the times you have lunch break. Either as a recurring meeting or schedule it each week in the weekly planning session
  • Schedule a meeting as soon as possible. The longer you put it off, the more likely you are to have scheduling issues
  • Schedule the meeting as short as possible. You can always schedule a new meeting
  • End the meeting when the outcome is achieved, don’t wait until the end just because you scheduled it

Accept a meeting in your calendar (if you're attending)

If you plan to attend a meeting, make sure to accept the invitation in your calendar promptly. This not only helps the organiser to keep track of the attendee list but also serves as a reminder for you to allocate time for the meeting. By acknowledging the invitation, you demonstrate your commitment to participating and respecting the organiser's efforts.

Show up if you're attending - or let them know

If you've accepted a meeting invitation, make it a priority to attend. In case an unforeseen circumstance arises that prevents you from joining, inform the organiser as soon as possible. By communicating your absence in advance, you allow the organizer to adjust the agenda or reschedule the meeting if necessary.

Be on time - or let someone know you'll be late

Punctuality is a key aspect of meeting etiquette. Arriving on time shows respect for the meeting organiser and other attendees, and helps to ensure that the meeting runs smoothly. If you know you'll be late, inform the organiser or a colleague who can relay the message. This way, the meeting can proceed without waiting unnecessarily for your arrival.

Stop the meeting in time (don't over run)

Respecting the scheduled end time of a meeting is essential. Overrunning the allotted time can cause disruptions to other attendees' schedules and create a negative impression. Make an effort to keep the discussion focused and on track so that all topics can be covered within the designated timeframe. If additional time is needed, schedule a follow-up meeting to address any outstanding issues.

Start with topics relevant for everyone in the meeting - so people can leave when you go into a specific topic

To maximise the efficiency and relevance of a meeting, begin the discussion with topics that are pertinent to all attendees. This approach ensures that everyone can contribute and stay engaged in the conversation. Once broader topics have been addressed, attendees who are not involved in more specific discussions can leave the meeting, freeing up their time for other tasks.

Don't multi-task while in the meeting

Focusing your attention solely on the meeting is essential for effective participation. Refrain from multitasking, such as checking emails or working on other tasks, during the meeting. This not only demonstrates respect for the organiser and other attendees but also helps you to fully engage with the discussion, contribute valuable insights, and retain important information.

Take and share notes, decisions made, actions (and 1 person to execute them), deadline for next steps

Taking and sharing notes is a vital aspect of meeting etiquette. Ensure that key points, decisions, action items, and deadlines are documented and assigned to a specific individual for execution. After the meeting, distribute the notes to all attendees and any relevant stakeholders who were not present. This practice promotes accountability, transparency, and effective follow-up on action items.


By adhering to these meeting etiquette guidelines, you can contribute to a more respectful, efficient, and productive meeting culture within your organisation. Demonstrating punctuality, focus, and proactive communication not only fosters a positive impression among colleagues but also helps to ensure that meetings achieve their intended objectives.

''How to have better meetings'' is just the second chapter of our Master your Calendar guide. Want to learn more tips and tricks? Check out our entire Master your calendar Guide!

If you want to master your workweek to get more done and be less stressed, consider our productivity training.

About Ewoud

Ewoud Uphof

Ewoud Uphof is an experienced Growth Hacker, certified funnel optimiser and investor.

In the past decade he has co-founded multiple companies. As Head of Growth he has helped grow 50+ companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals. He has worked for Camptoo,, Sophia Mae, Koffievoordeel and many more.

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