Working from Home During COVID-19: Leading a Meeting


Leading a meeting can be an art form. It takes a conductor of sorts. Meeting owners can perform a combination of roles during a meeting, including guiding and facilitating discussions, keeping everything and everyone on track, time keeping, and note taking to name a few.

Meeting Facilitation and Time Management

Starting the Meeting:

  1. Begin on time. Really, five (5) minutes in to allow people to dial in and settle in

2. Know who the key stakeholders are because you cannot start without them: If any are late, give a quick summary/catch-up when possible (at a natural break in the discussion)

3.  Acknowledge any inconveniences: short notice, booking during busy times, too early/too late

4.  Note prep materials/homework that was needed for the meeting

5. Walk through agenda

6. Let participants know that points/discussions/comments need to be clear/concise to adhere to the timeline

During the Meeting:

  1. Follow your agenda

2. Speak slowly and clearly. Avoid slang, idioms

3. Use visuals to “anchor” the discussion: Show agenda/document being discussed/note taking so everyone knows what is being covered at any time

4. Acknowledge when a topic/agenda item is completed before moving on to the next

5. Highjacked items: Unrelated topics introduced by participants. Make a note of them, but always go back to the original topic to complete it

6. Time keeping: Depending on time and complexity, discussions can go on and on. Do time check-ins to keep things on schedule.

7. Actively advance discussion toward finalization/conclusion based on your agenda

8. Ten (10) minutes before the end of the meeting: Do status check of agenda items. People need to leave the meeting on time; if it is clear that all items cannot be addressed, another meeting will be needed

9. Do not wait until the last minute to do this. Attendees will be disconnecting, and anything that is said will be hurried and unclear to those remaining and missed by those leaving

Closing the Meeting:

Acknowledgements and Conclusions (wrap-up)

  • Check that the objectives have been met
  • Deliverables: decisions, documents
  • Agree on follow-ups: another meeting, handle via e-mail, notes

After the Meeting:

Meeting notes should include:

  • Summary of meeting/agenda
  • All follow-up actions/to dos including name of person responsible, timeline for item to be completed if applicable, etc.
  • Scheduling of any follow-up meeting(s)

Leading a meeting can be quite involved. Preparation, communication, and clarity are key to ensure that your meeting is successful.

In the next post, we will offer tips for meeting attendees.

With a background of ten years living in Japan and almost 20 years of experience working with remote teams worldwide, Yvonne Burton, president of Burton Consulting International, provides services including Technology Consulting, Business Communications courses, and Cross-Cultural Training to Japanese firms operating internationally and companies operating in the Japanese market. To learn more about Yvonne and her work, please visit

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