Meetings play a crucial role within a business. Effective planning, organizing, and communication can have a massive effect on the impact the meeting has. A company, however, must use various meeting styles to ensure that every area and sector of the business receives the necessary attention it deserves.

A steering committee meeting involves the executives and leaders of the company sitting and communicating about the company’s goals, directions, and current issues. These meetings will provide the company with valuable solutions and methods to improve and recreate specific parts of the business.

A steering committee meeting is of utmost importance, and the regularity thereof will significantly impact the business. The leaders and executives will have time to work on the industry by expanding certain areas, fixing recurring significant issues, or creating innovative products or structures to take the company forward. The planning of these meetings is one part of the success. On the other hand, how to run an effective steering committee meeting can be the main problem.

Mastering the Art of Effective Steering Committee Meetings

Mastering an effective steering committee meeting has been one of the complex tasks that many companies within every industry have faced over the years. The conference will have executives, leaders, and managers sitting in to provide the committee with their opinions, problems, and solutions.

The meeting will have influential and well-knowledgeable individuals in the discussion. However, this is incredibly beneficial and can lead to clashes and arguments among the committee members. The key is to keep everyone in line while giving them the freedom to raise their questions and opinions throughout the meeting.

Many companies only create a steering committee to focus on single projects. The team will have to develop a project budget and approach to ensure the entire project succeeds. The project steering committee is a group of key people working through crucial decisions to provide a practical project and a happy client reaction. 

Why Successful Steering Committee Meetings Are Important

A successful steering meeting will give the company clear direction, concise goals, and solutions to daily business problems. The steering meetings will allow the steering team to work on the business and not solely in the business. Once a team works on the business, the advisory board can find new company strategies and complex processes for the company systems, which will improve daily operations and increase sales. The purpose, however, can be different for every company.

Check Out Successful Project Steering Committee Meetings:

Alignment of Stakeholders

The first larger task to complete for a steering committee meeting to run efficiently is aligning the stakeholders before the start of the session. Aligning the stakeholders will take some time and processing. The benefit, however, is that these individuals will understand the company and their investments at a higher level.

There are multiple ways of aligning the stakeholders. The current task should be to get every stakeholder involved in the company. Meeting individuals must understand the business processes, operations, and goals. Many can think of solutions to a problem. The quality of the solutions increases if they experience and witness the situation and systems.

Identify and portray the company goals and values. The stakeholders need to be present in the company day in and day out. Explaining the company goals and core values will allow these educated individuals to understand the direction and principles that the company has in place.

The stakeholders come from different business sectors and have various knowledge and information. The steering meetings aim to use the expertise of an array of individuals to improve the company. The alignment will allow these stakeholders to get to know each other personally and create a picture of why the other members are present.

Streamlined Decision-Making

Making concrete and direct decisions is part of running a business. A decision can be seen as a quick call between two options, while other, more important decisions will take more time and energy to make. The key to steering meetings is making as many important decisions as possible.

The steering committee exists from multiple individuals who spread knowledge throughout the business. Some might focus on operations, another on sales, and another on financing and production. These individuals will all assist the processes by streamlining the decision-making process.

The focus should be on concluding and creating solutions to the problems. Streamlining allows the team to discuss significant issues but focus on the results and decisions rather than the perspectives and opinions. The first method of steering decisions is to provide the team with a problem, allowing them to identify solutions. The diverse group will all bring different solutions to the table. The focus, however, should not be to identify the stance or opinion of the problem. Mainly focus on the solution.

Setting a timeframe for the discussion will allow every individual to raise their opinion and come to a conclusion at a rapid pace. This will prevent tangents and long unnecessary conversations that are dead ends. This will allow the team to tackle more topics on the agenda. Avoid time wasters at all costs.

To make a steering meeting more effective, the team can jump into the conversations and discussions without the unnecessary time wasters beforehand. Streamline decisions such as equipment, screens, and writing material by organizing them beforehand. The team is there to make critical decisions, so wasting their time with simple tasks and small choices such as using a pen or a pencil is a waste of time.

Improved Project Outcomes

The outcome is the focus of a steering meeting. A successful meeting will produce multiple solutions and improvement areas within a project. The focus should be to create as many improved outcomes as possible and then determine which solution will fit the company best.

The upside of a steering committee meeting to produce precise solutions is that the company can tap into the minds of industry leaders, department heads, well-informed individuals, and members with years of industry experience to guide and provide valuable information. The project will be analyzed and evaluated by some of the best in the business, which will give the company great solutions and outcomes that will improve the project, problem, and overall business.

Making the Most of the Steering Committee Meeting

Taking the time to schedule a steering meeting can take time and effort. These stakeholders only have a little free time; thus, using it effectively is of utmost importance. The company must use every second with the members wisely to ensure they gain the most from the meeting. Determining an adequate time can take time and effort. The focus, however, should be to include every participant in the planning and determining date.

Define Clear Objectives

A steering meeting without clear objectives will lead to a discussion that does not benefit the company. The focus should be to define clear and concise goals and objectives for the meeting. This must, however, be done beforehand to ensure time is well-spent during the actual meeting.

The objectives must be sent and communicated to the members individually. The members must know what the meeting is about to provide adequate time to prepare and study solutions to the problems. This will allow the meeting to run at a smooth pace. Members will know the goals and what they must contribute to ensure the meeting achieves every objective.

Assemble the Right Participants

Determining the best group of participants is critical. The right team will allow the business to gain the highest quality solutions and knowledge that will be used to improve the company. The opportunity for unrealistic or ineffective solutions and guidance will be increased when the company uses the wrong participants.

The company must identify the leaders within the team to fill a few slots within the meeting. These participants can be the company’s Chief operations, financial, and executive officers. Another participant is the director of the company. It is of utmost importance that the individual join.

Stakeholders in the form of investors, key customers, or sponsors can be included in the meeting. The company can identify industry leaders, expert individuals, or informants that will contribute to the meeting as extra participants. And lastly, managers or employees that work daily in the sector under question.

Develop a Comprehensive Agenda

An agenda set the tone and direction of the steering conference. The team will have a layout of every topic, problem, and conversation that must be present in the meeting. This will allow the participants to prepare specific questions or solutions beforehand based on the project phase or successful execution. 

The agenda structure must be drafted and communicated to them within a week before the meeting. Allowing every individual to take the critical time to prepare will provide the meeting with more information and additional questions that these participants might think of before the meeting.

There are many tips and tricks for creating an effective agenda. The key, however, is to include every topic and discussion that will lead to completing the meeting goals and objectives.

Check Out Make Your Steering Committee Meetings Productive:

Establish Meeting Ground Rules

Ground rules and regulations will provide the meeting with guidelines and boundaries preventing the participants from heading out of line. There will be some form of confrontation and disagreement with industry leaders, strong personalities, and stakeholders.

The planner must provide ground rules to prevent the team from personally attacking each other and always staying on the topic point of the discussion. Ground rules can be in the form of raising a hand to speak, not shouting, or raising personal vendettas.

Other ground rules can be to show up on time, listen to others’ opinions and answers openly, or let every participant speak. These rules will set the tone and the direction of the meeting.

Conducting the Meeting with Precision

Once the admin and rules are cleared out, the team will have to place a strong leader in place to lead and follow the rules. The team will have to determine a second in command and a timekeeper to ensure that the meeting is held with precision. The focus is to make the session as effective as possible, and the following factors will assist in that goal.

Designate a Strong Chairperson

A strong leader will be able to pull the team together to ensure that they stay on track and complete all the objectives on the meeting list. The chairperson, or person in charge, will have to open and close the meetings and guide the meeting according to the busy agenda. This person is to create a safe and efficient meeting that will lead to solutions and decisions that will change the company’s direction and effectiveness.

Encourage Open Dialogue and Teamwork

A steering committee aims to conclude with the best solution on the table. This can only be achieved if everyone in the room provides the problem with their opinion and solution to the problem. The team should collaborate to build on each other instead of fighting against others’ points.

Open dialogue will provide the team to raise their concerns and add to other participants’ opinions to ensure that a creative solution comes to work. The committee is a team; teamwork and open dialogue are essential to this type of conference.

Allocate Time for Decision-Making

Meetings can focus solely on the daily negative aspects and problems the business faces. Strategic and steering meetings must be used for decision-making and problem-solving. The agenda structure can have a set time solely for decision-making. After every point, the team can leave five to ten minutes to identify and clarify the decision that will be used to improve the current project.

Many companies need help with the investigator meeting, which focuses on identifying the problems within a situation or sector. The steering committee will aim to create solutions and action plans, not solely focusing on the issue.

Track Progress and Adjust as Needed

The team will have conversations and discussions on many problems within the company. A progress tracker must be involved to provide the team with the decision and its impact on the company. This will allow the team to adjust their process if it seems ineffective.

Actions to Take Afterward to Ensure Success

Meetings and discussions have many benefits to them. The meeting will, however, be of no benefit to the company if there are no action steps to ensure the successful incorporation of the strategy or decision. There must be a set action step after every meeting to ensure success after the meeting.

Distribute Meeting Minutes Promptly

The first focus should be to allocate a person to take meeting minutes. The individual will write everything down and restructure it after the meeting to produce a document that all the attendees can follow after the meeting. The person can find easy tips on how to do this effectively, allowing them to write and create the perfect meeting minutes.

Every individual must obtain these notes to ensure they can proceed with action steps that include the participant. These notes must be distributed to every participant in the meeting. This will allow them to evaluate the session.

Assign Action Items and Monitor Progress

The strategy and solution are just as successful as the action steps and progress of the plan. Even though the team has created a perfect plan to solve the problem, the execution is critical. The team must assign clear action steps to the participants to ensure that each individual knows what to do further.

There must be feedback provided at any future meeting or set time. This will allow the chairperson to identify whether the action plan is successful and if they need to change and adjust it; the team will be able to evaluate the progress monitored from the previous meeting.

Evaluate Meeting Effectiveness and Improve

After the meeting, the entire team must provide feedback to the chairperson. This can be done in person or through a virtual platform. The input must state clear areas of improvement. This will allow the chairperson to identify ineffective aspects within the previous meeting.

This will allow the team to improve future meetings with the necessary changes to ensure that every meeting is effective and improved from the previous session. This will ensure progress in the meeting and provide a platform for better solutions and strategies in the future.


How Frequently Should the Steering Committee Meet?

These meetings are usually scheduled once a term or once every four months. Some companies have adjusted it to once a month to ensure that the business grows in the desired direction.

Who Ought to Attend a Steering Committee Meeting?

The attendees will be hand pick by the company director. This will include stakeholders and company leaders. Potential attendees include customers, operation managers, department employees, and industry leaders.

How Does the Project Manager Participate in a Steering Committee Meeting?

A project manager can provide the committee with valuable and updated information on the progress and troubles of the project plans. This will allow additional input on the solution and explain what the team has tried before. The project team will have their participant through the manager to raise awareness of the project timeline. 

How Should Disputes Be Handled When They Arise at Steering Committee Meetings?

The chairperson will have an obligation to calm both parties down and provide a clear overview of both aspects. The dispute must then be discussed; if no clear answer can come, it must be stopped. The focus is to obtain results; the conflict will not add to that objective. Thus assuring both parties that they have a valid opinion; it should not be part of this solution.

What Can I Do to Make My Steering Committee Better?

The first step is to evaluate the success and the feedback that the participants have provided. Another option is to use an event planner and creator to build and host a high-quality event according to the company’s goals. Focus on the effectiveness, responses, and participants of the meeting.

Closing Thoughts on How to Run an Effective Steering Committee Meeting

An effective steering committee meeting is of utmost importance to a business. Small businesses and big corporate organizations can benefit from these meetings. The meeting will allow the company to access valuable knowledge and information that can be used to improve problems and the direction of a project or company.

A regular meeting in the form of a steering committee will allow the company to create action steps that will lead to great results. The team can actively produce high-quality solutions by following practical tips and tricks in every meeting. Investing time and money into these meetings will have an excellent return for any business.

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.