Good Meetings Don’t Just Happen

Enhancing Rural Community Capacity April 17, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

A focus on three components:  preparation, the agenda, the meeting

I.  Preparation:  a sample of what should happen before most meetings. 

  • Reserve the room
  • Send out the agenda to remind participants of the meeting and what is planned
  • Identify who will take notes, lead the meeting, provide reports or activities, etc.
  • Contact everyone who needs to be there
  • Get supplies
  • Make sure your visual aids work
  • Make sure the room is set up
  • Make sure the room is accessible
  • Have name tags if people do not know each other
  • Have healthy snacks or drinks ready
  • Have the minutes or notes of the previous meeting run off and extra copies of the agenda
  • Make sure the agenda can be completed in the allotted time – are you realistic about the amount of work and the meeting length?
  • Only hold meetings that are necessary
  • Make copies


II. Agenda - a group’s road map from the beginning to the end, with all the steps in between for reaching the outcomes the group wants.

Information that needs to be on an agenda –

  • must:  what (the group), when, where, who and how, why
  • optional, but really nice:  purpose (why), who will do each item, who the leader, recorder

Look at any agenda to determine if you can answer these eight questions. 

  • What group is sponsoring the meeting?
  • When is it taking place?
  • Where will the people meet?
  • How long will it last?
  • Who is leading the meeting?
  • What work is being done?
  • How is it being done (what is being asked to be done)?
  • Who is recording the decisions – or who is the secretary?
  • What is the purpose of the meeting?


III. The meeting:  when meetings are fair, open and honest, the potential for constructive discussion and achieving desired outcomes increases.  Here is a list of things that should happen during each and every meeting 

  • Start on time
  • Provide an overview of what will be done
  • Introduce members and guests
  • Keep focused on agenda items, keep a list of new  items for the next meeting as needed
  • Follow the time commitments for each agenda item
  • Make sure that decisions are recorded
  • Honor the ground rules
  • Identify when the next meeting is happening
  • Identify agenda items for the next meeting
  • End on time


IV. After the meeting

  • The recorder or secretary compiles the meeting minutes or notes
  • Leftover agenda items are transferred to the next agenda
  • Distribute meeting notes
  • People who volunteered to do various tasks do them


Jane E Haskell, UMaine Cooperative Extension

Connect with us

  • Twitter
  • Facebook


This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by



Articles and Fact Sheets


Virtual Learning Center

Partners, Colleagues and Collaborators











This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.