Create an Agenda
This is the most important step. One of the biggest time-wasters in meetings is going off on tangents. Having a clear agenda will help you stay on task so that you don't waste anyone's time with irrelevant topics. Be sure to include a bit of time at the beginning to review the results of the previous meeting's discussions to measure progress and address any issues.
Give Everyone a Chance to Speak
Oftentimes, your team will have valuable insight, which can get lost in large discussions. Allow some time for every attendee to have the floor, uninterrupted. During this time, they can ask questions, comment on problems or ask for assistance. The point here is to ensure everyone's needs are being met and that all of your team members are confident in their roles and duties.
Only Invite Those Who Are Necessary
One of the biggest complaints people have about meetings is that they are often required to attend meetings that aren't directly relevant to them. Not only does inviting additional attendees create more scheduling conflicts, but it also takes those employees away from their core job duties. When choosing the team members to invite to a meeting, make sure that everyone you invite actually needs to be at the meeting so that you don't waste anyone's time.
If your meeting will last longer than an hour, it is always a good idea to provide snacks and beverages for your attendees. This is particularly important if your meeting is scheduled around lunch time. If your meeting happens to run a bit long, as many meetings do, your team may not have enough time to take a full lunch break, and you don't want to leave them starving for the rest of the day.
Don't Forget to Follow Up
As the meeting organizer, your job doesn't stop as soon as the meeting ends; afterwards, you should always send out a recap of the important points that were discussed. Not only does this serve as a reminder to your attendees of what their next tasks are, but it also provides a written record of the discussion in case there are any discrepancies in the future. Send a brief email covering the key points within a day or two of the meeting while it is still fresh in everyone's minds.
Overall, the most common complaint people have about meetings is that they often waste time and don't really accomplish anything. Following the tips outlined here will help you stay on track with your meetings so that they are more productive and valuable for everyone involved. Take the time to carefully evaluate the purpose and goals of your meeting to ensure that you are equipped to accomplish what you set out to do.