If you’re in a leadership role of any kind, ministry or otherwise, you will lead a meeting at some point (or at least help to lead one). Here are 5 simple, really important things you can do to make your meetings fun, successful and productive for your team:

1. Start on Time

Nothing says “I don’t value your time” like starting late (at least without a very good reason). I’ve been guilty of slacking on this at times, but for quite a while now I’ve made it a high priority to get things going promptly. If we say we start at 1pm, we start at 1pm. Not only does it communicate value to your team, but it also sets a productive tone for the meeting.

2. Have an Agenda

Not having a plan going into a meeting is a huge mistake. You may hand out an agenda (which I recommend), or maybe you just made some notes for yourself, but have a plan either way. Why are you meeting? What are your goals? Does your conversation need to progress in a certain direction? Without a plan, you will wind up drifting from the original intent or necessary content of the meeting. Know ahead of time what you need to accomplish and you’ll be more likely to get it done.

Here’s a sample agenda from one of our team meetings.

3. Be Intentional With Your Meeting Space

This is so important. It’s also highly underestimated and often overlooked. The set-up of your meeting space has a huge bearing on how things will go. Are you speaking, teaching, or instructing? Then set up rows of chairs and lead from the front. Are you looking for conversation and collaboration? Then sit in a circle or around a table. Make sure your space has adequate lighting. Don’t meet in a place that is too cold or hot. Sometimes it’s even helpful to change up your meeting space…try moving your next meeting to a coffee shop, for example. The point is, be intentional with your space. It has more to do with a successful meeting than you will ever realize until you start looking carefully at the results. Which leads us to one other important element to consider when planning your meeting space:

4. Food!

If I get invited to a meeting, I’m always more excited if there’s food or at least coffee, water, something…it doesn’t have to be fine cuisine, but small snacks or light refreshments go a long way toward sparking creativity and increasing the positivity in the room. Beyond that, it’s a kind gesture. If you work in a corporate setting (or in certain ministry environments), I realize there will likely be meeting settings where food would be inappropriate, but when I meet with my student ministry volunteers, I always provide food. It’s another way to communicate that you appreciate the people you’ve asked to meet with and the simple reality is, everybody loves good food!

5. End on Time

Equally as important as starting on time (maybe even more important) is ending on time. My monthly team meetings with my volunteers are scheduled to be 60 minutes long, and I don’t just think of it as a schedule; it’s a promise. I’m so committed to keeping the schedule that I will stop a meeting in the middle of a discussion in order to be respectful of their time and let them move on to the other things in their busy schedules. It’s a way of acknowledging that I know they have made meeting with our team a priority, and equally important to me is the rest of the things their day holds. If there is ever a situation where we decide to continue meeting past an hour, I always take a short 2-3 minute break at the 60-minute mark to allow anyone who needs to leave to exit gracefully.

If you make these 5 things a part of every meeting, you will see better results, more creativity, and a higher attendance rate at your meetings. Is there anything that you have tried that has increased the value of your meetings that you would add to this list or change about what I have listed? Share it in a comment below. I hope this is helpful to you as you lead your team!