Dry, disorganized, and unproductive meetings are the bane of every person in business. Unfortunately, they are the norm more often than not. But there are many things you can do to ensure that your meetings are effective, efficient, and maybe even somewhat fun.
Here are some helpful guidelines to follow when planning your next business meeting:
Before the Meeting:
- Make sure everyone knows what the meeting is about, what materials they need to bring, and where and when it is to be held.
- Designate someone to take meeting minutes. You’ll be sorry later if no one remembers what was discussed because there wasn’t anybody taking notes.
- Reconfirm the venue, whether it’s a five-star restaurant or your company’s conference room. You don’t want to arrive and find someone else using your space.
- Arrange for snacks. You’d be surprised how pleased people will be to see them. Snacks are fun and help keep energy from lagging. Kaiser Hospital, publicly committed to good nutrition and preventive medicine, has a policy of serving cut-up veggies at meetings. If your group prefers Twizzlers or donuts, that’s okay too.
- Make sure you have enough copies of handouts (or any other materials you’ll need) to distribute, and that all other materials (easel, laptop, sound system) are in the room and in working order before the meeting begins. It never hurts to bring a few extra pens.
- At the Meeting:
After the Meeting:
- Thank everyone for coming.
- Make sure that each person understands what was discussed and the follow-up tasks expected.
- Schedule the next meeting, if necessary.
- Clean up after yourself — don’t leave the space a mess for the next group. Distribute minutes promptly to everyone who attended, as well as anyone who missed the meeting but needs to be kept in the loop.
- Try not to have the same meeting over and over again. Act on the decisions made so your group feels like there’s been real progress made.
- Follow up — make sure everyone is actually doing what was discussed and agreed to in the meeting.
- Be sure to share credit and compliments with everyone who participated.