- Start on time.
- Get agreement on the agenda and desired outcomes.
- Confirm someone will take notes on major points raised and decisions.
- Frame first item on the agenda by clarifying what you expect of the discussion (example, “we’ll be reviewing the COP schedule to ensure everyone is aware of key milestones and identify any conflicts with major deadlines or activities”).
- Use open-ended questions to clarify points being raised and stimulate discussion.
- Use flipchart (or projected electronic record) as a way of tracking key points raised.
- STAY on topic – refer to agenda to keep everyone focused.
- Paraphrase to ensure you and others understood what was said.
- Summarize key points made after a period of discussion and see if you are ready to move on to the decision or next topic.
- Summarize the decision or agreements made before moving to next topic.
- Save 5 minutes at the end of the meeting to ask for feedback on how the meeting went and what to do to improve the next time.
- Do Not Run Overtime. If you are almost finished on a point, ask the group if they can stay and agree on how much time you’ll all stay.
This resource is a part of a series of articles created under the USAID-funded AIDSTAR project. The principles in these resources can be widely applied to a variety of contexts where different groups work together closely on a shared initiative or different teams within an organization need to work together more effectively.