Insider Intelligence: 5 Steps to More Effective Meetings

May 13, 2021
Tips on making company meetings more productive and engaging
James Gallagher is Manager of Integrator Services for PSA Security Network. Request more info about PSA at
James Gallagher is Manager of Integrator Services for PSA Security Network. Request more info about PSA at
This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

For the past two years, I have managed PSA’s committee program. The program strives to get the best minds together across all verticals and share ideas to tackle industry challenges head-on. Our committees rally behind six topics: cybersecurity, leadership, managed services, technical, sales and marketing and operations. Each committee meets once per month for an hour, and my job is to ensure that every minute of each meeting is valuable for our members.

One of the many things I have learned managing the committees is how to run an effective meeting. I believe an effective meeting is one that is on time, has engaged participants and accomplishes the goals laid out before the meeting.

With this experience, I have found the following five ways to ensure your meetings are effective:

1. Be prepared. Have an agenda for the meeting which is shared with all attendees as early as possible. This enables everyone attending to be prepared to contribute, sets expectations, and refines the purpose of the meeting.

Be sure to let attendees know what time the meeting starts and when it is expected to end. If a topic has not been set for the meeting, set aside time – at least one week before the call – to determine a topic. Once the topic is set, prepare questions to lead the conversation.

If a guest presenter is joining the call be sure to schedule a prep call with the speaker so the expectations of how the meeting will be conducted are clear to them.

2. Get people engaged. Once the agenda has been crafted, share it with your chairperson or meeting leader and request their feedback. Take this feedback into account before sending the agenda out to the attendees. When you do send the agenda to all attendees, ask if they have anything they would like added and make any necessary revisions to the agenda before the meeting.

Planning for and asking for attendee feedback in advance will lead to more engagement during the meeting.

3. Keep the discussion moving. Sometimes planning ahead is not enough to keep the conversation moving. Be ready to step in with additional questions if discussion stalls.

One thing I have learned is that getting to know your team members can make a big difference! Knowing the personalities of the team helps you understand who is comfortable and confident when speaking. As the meeting facilitator, ask them a question to get the discussion going again.

Just as important is knowing when to pause. Sometimes there may be a little dead air as people collect their thoughts and decide what to say. Be careful not to cut off what could have been a good conversation by stepping in too early.

4. Respect everyone’s time. You put in the work on the agenda…now stick to it. Show attendees that you honor and value their time by keeping the meeting on time and make a real effort to start the meeting at the set time once attendees have arrived.

Keep the discussion focused on the topic and do not be afraid to redirect people when they start going off topic.

Give attendees your undivided attention. A meeting is no time to be looking at your phone or checking emails, and it wastes everyone’s time if you are not engaged. Off-topic discussions can be tabled until after the meeting and it will help keep things focused. Let attendees know when the meeting is five minutes from wrapping and close the meeting at the agreed-on time.

5. Show appreciation. At the close of every meeting, thank attendees for their time. I believe that time is one of our most valuable commodities, so I always give verbal thanks and appreciation to attendees.

James Gallagher is Manager of Integrator Services for PSA Security Network. Request more info about PSA at