Organising successful meetings
Meetings are part and parcel of business life. In fact, it is almost impossible to imagine the corporate world without them. As one of the prime means of communication between individuals, meetings are inseparable from the decision-making process. Therefore, being able to organise them successfully must be considered a crucial skill of any modern businessman.
Here are a few tips on how to make your first meeting a resounding success:
- Understand why the meeting is necessary. What is to be discussed? What are the meeting’s goals? With this in mind, who should attend?
- Come up with the correct format for the meeting. How can the desired outcome be effectuated in the most efficient manner? Can a virtual meeting accomplish the set goals more easily? Can guest speakers or videos be of any help? Is there to be any brainstorming or debate between the attendees?
- Keeping the objectives firmly in mind, decide on the appropriate time and place of the meeting. The choice of meeting room should take into account its goals and structure, the availability of necessary equipment and the accessibility of the location for the attendees. The timing of the meeting should not only depend on the availability of the chosen meeting room, but should also be a function of the schedules of the attendees who are to be present.
- The agenda should be made and distributed at least several days in advance of the meeting in order to give all attendees the chance to plan their schedules accordingly and confirm their attendance. It is extremely important that the agenda communicates effectively the goals of the meeting, as well as its time, place, estimated duration and any and all expected participatory activities on the part of the attendees, using clear language and a realistic time-schedule.
- Take extra copies of the agenda to make sure that everyone has a copy of it even if some people forgot to bring them. Ensure that both a meeting leader and minutes taker have been assigned before beginning the meeting.
- If you are the meeting leader it is your responsibility to keep the meeting running smoothly, to facilitate discussion, to make sure that all voices are heard, and to stick to the agenda. In order to do so, go over the agenda prior to starting the meeting and refer back to it after completing every scheduled activity, keeping meticulous track of the time.
- Upon completion of the meeting, summarise the discussion points, the decisions taken, and any actions that have to be performed in the future as a consequence of this meeting. Review the minutes shortly after ending the meeting and, based on this information, send all attendees a summary of what transpired at the meeting, of the next steps, and, if applicable, include the date and time of the next meeting.
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