How do you plan meetings that meet agreed aims and objectives?

Meetings can and should be the most interesting and productive part of a day. The planning can be summarized as:
1) preparation
2) facilitation
3) inspiration
4) results

Preparation means making sure your meeting has a clear, stated purpose, and an agenda. Participants are chosen carefully, invited in professional way and given sufficient prior information. Preparation also means attention to details including: room bookings, catering, a/v equipment, reminders.

Facilitation means that someone or a team is responsible for guiding the meeting, a plan for the meeting is reflected in the agenda and the facilitator (or chair) keeps things on time and on track.

Inspiration is probably the most overlooked aspect of everyday meetings. All the attention to detail and process can push the opportunity for spontaneity and enthusiasm aside. Build in activites that engage participants, use strategies to generate discussion, or visual aids to grab attention.

Results means that every meeting should be directed toward one or more outcomes. Participants must feel that something has been accomplished, and they must see all of their meetings as part of the bigger strategy to involve them in the future of the organization. Achievements at one meeting should be recapped in the next, and so on.