Meeting Planning and Design

  1. Define the purpose and desirable outcomes of the meeting.
  2. Determine who should attend the meeting. If needed, gather information about who will attend, their expectations, and their needs. Involve participants in planning in some way.
  3. Build an agenda in advance. Prioritize agenda items. Send the agenda to participants well in advance of the meeting. Make a realistic estimate of the time required for each agenda item.
  4. Notify meeting participants of the time, place, length, and plans for the meeting. Consider varying meeting place and time. Solicit participant suggestions regarding meeting arrangements.
  5. Send any needed written materials prior to the meeting.
  6. If a meeting is scheduled but not needed, either cancel the meeting or conduct necessary business by telephone, mail, executive committee, etc.
  7. Make plans to accommodate more, or fewer people than expected.
  8. Prepare and check equipment and visual aids.
  9. Brief speakers and resource people about purpose, arrangements, roles, expectations.


  1. Arrive early and set up or make sure the room is set up properly.
  2. Plan activities for early arrivers: Conservation, coffee, filing out information sheet, viewing resource table, etc.
  3. Start on time.
  4. Make introductions (if necessary) and state expectations for the meeting.
  5. Define roles (if necessary), e.g., leader, facilitator, recorder, internal critic, etc.
  6. Ensure that a recorder is appointed to document plans, decisions, tasks, etc. (if needed).
  7. Review, revise, and order the agenda according to the rules for setting an agenda.
  8. Set clear time limits for activities.
  9. Review previous meeting's actions.


  1. Facilitate the meeting according to the agenda, attending to times allotted, maintaining focus on one issue at a time, utilizing appropriate processes.
  2. Chair and members utilize different structures and processes appropriate for handling the task at hand (e.g., problem-solving, planning, facilitating action, evaluating and reviewing action, etc.).
  3. Leader and members serve the group by focusing on the task at hand, and they facilitate work by sharing the task and process roles.


  1. Review accomplishments of the meeting (in relation to the purpose and agenda).
  2. Establish action items. What will be done, by whom, when?
  3. Set the date and place of the next meeting (if necessary) and  develop a preliminary agenda.
  4. Evaluate the meeting.
  5. Close the meeting positively.
  6. End on time.
  7. Clean and rearrange the room.


  1. Prepare the group memorandum or meeting minutes.
  2. Follow up on action items and begin to plan the next meeting.