What makes a meeting “excellent”?

In my opinion, there are four points that a meeting needs to have in order to be called excellent:

  1. Clear Results
  2. Prepared Participants
  3. Structure
  4. Useful Timing

Clear Results

At the end of a meeting the results of that particular event should be clear to each participant, even if all agree that there is no common understanding. Everybody should not only know, what he has to do next and by when, the participants should also have a clear expectation of the tasks of the others.

Prepared Participants

Nothing is more annoying, than participants that show up in a meeting without preparation. Yes, there can be several good reasons for this but it is in most cases a huge waste of time – especially for those who are prepared.

Structure

For a meeting to be efficient, some structure is useful, but if this structure hinders progress, it should be replaced by a better one.

Useful Timing

This deliberately does not read “Start on time and finish on time”, because for me there is more to timing than just being a slave to the watch. Yes, sometimes a rigid timing is necessary – and sometimes it is waste. For example if a couple of additional minutes would lead to a better result – or even a result at all. For me this point includes also the date and time and duration a meeting is planned.