A well-run meeting lets you get more business done in a shorter time, whether you're meeting in person or virtually.


Tag It!

Create a welcoming atmosphere by having a greeter at the door and name tags for everyone to wear, not just new attendees. Light refreshments such as coffee or juice and a snack will also go over well. If you're meeting online, make sure everyone's name appears under their image.

List It!

Post the agenda online ahead of time, and have copies on hand at the meeting; use a consistent order of business from one meeting to the next so that people will become familiar with the rhythm of the meeting.

Open It!

Best practice is to allow everyone who's interested to attend your meetings, regardless of whether they are officially members of the group. By limiting participation, you limit your volunteer base—and also risk having the group labeled as a clique.

Focus It!

Three golden rules: Ask attendees to make all comments directly to the chairperson rather than getting into side conversations. If a speaker gets sidetracked by a tangent, ask her to address only the current topic under discussion. And cut off a discussion when it becomes repetitive. The other attendees will appreciate your keeping the meeting on track.

Shout It!

Widely share the when and where of your next meeting: newsletter, flyer, email, website, social media, school cable channel, school display case, electronic sign, etc. If you can, explain why a parent or family would want to participate and how they will benefit.

Circle It!

If possible, avoid having a head table; separate seating for officers reinforces an us-vs.-them mentality and can give members the impression that your group is a clique. Try to convey a spirit of cooperation instead by sitting in a circle.

Promote your PTO meetings with Canva templates (in English and Spanish)

Record It!

Have someone take minutes at each meeting, and ask the minute-taker to speak up if she needs clarification on a name spelling or point of discussion. Finalize the minutes within 24 to 48 hours after the meeting, and post them online for everyone to access.

Time It!

Start on time with a welcome message and introductions; share the planned ending time if doing so is practical. Keep the meeting to an hour at most, and follow the agenda rather than jumping around from item to item.

Clean It!

After the meeting has ended, make sure to put the room back to its original state. Pick up trash, wipe crumbs off tables, and move furniture back to where it belongs.

Table It!

Regular business meetings aren’t planning sessions. If an agenda item is getting bogged down by details, table the discussion and ask committee members to meet separately to make a decision.

Printable Meeting Magic Quick Tips Sheet
Printable Robert's Rules Tip Sheet
More Resources on Meetings and Robert's Rules

Originally posted in 2014 and updated regularly.

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