Prepare and conduct your meetings effectively

Prepare and conduct your meetings effectively

Tools and templates for effective meetings


For meetings to be experienced as effective and interesting, we need to go back to basics: they are above all a powerful channel for communication and decision-making.  To help you, we propose a three-stage meeting model:

  • Before the meeting, with the TOPP method (Theme, Objective, Participants, Plan)
  • During the meeting
  • After the meeting


1. Before the meeting

1.1 Prepare the framework of the meeting: the “TOPP”

"T" -> Theme: What are we talking about?

  • Stick to a single topic, because :
  • o It would be an illusion to believe that everything will be settled in one meeting.

    o The agenda must be realistic.

    o participants concerned with one topic might not be concerned with another.

“O" -> Objective(s): Where are we going?

  • The objectives of this meeting should be precise, ideally SMART. (Specific


"P" -> Participants: Who are we going with?

  • Choose participants who are competent in the topic and concerned with the objective.
  • Be clear about who will ultimately have decision-making power.
  • Make sure that the presence of each participant is really useful.

"P" -> Plan: How do we get there?

  • Plan a draft :
  • o an agenda of items to be discussed.

    o a step-by-step plan for the meeting (taking stock, collecting suggestions, proposing solutions and setting a timetable).

Note: Prepare the plan in a format that you can display during the meeting so that participants can find their way around.

1.2 Involve participants upstream

  • A meeting for sharing solutions, not for finding them during the meeting:
  • o Provide participants with a draft agenda in sufficient time for them to prepare it.

    o Ask for their concrete input on the issues that concern them.

    o Send out the final agenda with a reminder of the logistical points in advance.

1.3 Reminder of logistical points to be communicated

o the place

o time

o duration of the whole meeting (max. 1h30)

A time and an order of priority will be assigned to each subject.

o In the case of recurrent meetings, plan to hold the meeting at the same time and on the same day each time if possible, so as to create a habit that will limit forgetting.

2. During the meeting

2.1 Introduction

  • Set the scene by recalling :

o The agenda.

o Objectives.

o Duration.

  • Appoint :

o A time keeper, who will keep track of the duration of the meeting and each of its stages.

o A secretary or clerk, to record the important elements and decisions that will be taken.

2.2 During the meeting

  • Display the Plan so that everyone can see the progress of the discussions. - At each stage :

o Make SMART decisions.

o Identify actions, responsible persons and deadlines.

2.3 In conclusion

  • Recall the objective of the meeting, and check that you have achieved it.
  • Recall the key elements and decisions, so that everyone shares the same perception of the decisions taken.
  • Thank everyone for their contribution.

3. After the meeting

  • Send minutes including a record of decisions
  • o To formalise the progress made and avoid any omissions or misinterpretations

    o To inform those absent

  • At the next meeting on the same topics :
  • o To measure what has been achieved,

    o to congratulate each other on successes and

    o to analyse the difficulties encountered.


  1. At your next meeting practice using this tool.
  2. Note your remarks:
  • What did you observe that was different from your previous meetings?
  • What did you like about it?
  • What was the overall impact of this meeting?
  • What could you have done differently?