How to Run Meetings: 6 Steps

Apr 19, 2021

We’ve all been in meetings where nothing constructive comes out of them, problems aren’t solved, progress isn’t made, goals aren’t met, and everyone’s time is wasted. There are a variety of reasons why meetings can fall apart, but a great way to abolish those reasons is to learn how to run an effective meeting.


There are many types of meetings, and they include the following:

  • Staff meetings
  • Simple chats
  • Work sessions
  • Town halls
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Educational sessions


Running an effective meeting often requires a set of six core steps. These steps are part of the Meeting Canoe framework. It was developed by the Axelrod Group, a consulting organization that specializes in transforming business interactions.


The Meeting Canoe framework outlines the following six steps:

  1. Welcome people – Greet people and create an atmosphere that is conducive to doing the meeting’s work.
  2. Connect people to each other and the task – The goal here is to create two types of connections. The first type is building relationships between meeting participants. The second type is connecting meeting participants to the task at hand.
  3. Discover the way things are – At this stage, you engage people in learning for themselves about the current situation.
  4. Elicit people’s dreams – The goal here is to have participants imagine preferred and relevant outcomes unfettered by the current reality.
  5. Decide on the next steps – In this part, participants make decisions about what they want to do based on the way things are and the agreed upon objectives.
  6. Attend to the end – The goal here is to bring closure to the meeting by reviewing the decisions made, identifying the next steps, and reflecting on the meeting process.


The steps in this framework are based on the following assumptions:

  • Participants who connect with each other can achieve more meaningful work.
  • Team members who realize the importance of the goal at hand will have the motivation needed to reach the goal.
  • Connecting peoples’ goals and preferred futures with the goal of the meeting will lead to increased motivation and performance.
  • If the meeting participants can continually agree on the steps toward achieving the objective, they’ll feel ownership throughout the process of reaching the goal.



  1. Axelrod, D. (2014). The Meeting Canoe | The Axelrod Group. Retrieved 23 March 2017, from
  2. (2017). Retrieved 23 March 2017, from


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