Nowadays, it’s not enough to simply schedule a meeting. You need to be strategic about how you organize your business meetings beforehand. Here are some ways to do that.
1. Create an agenda for the meeting
Create an agenda for the meeting ahead of time and send it out with the invite. That way, people can prepare their thoughts before the meeting starts rather than during or after which will help them stay focused on what is being said during the meeting.
2. Prepare all necessary items beforehand
Have all the necessary materials and equipment at the meeting site before people start arriving. That way, you can avoid any distractions that might result from someone having to go off track to find something like the right presentation or pen. This also means properly setting up your corporate audiovisual solutions and having IT support within the room in case of technical issues.
3. Set a timeline for each part of the meeting
Each step of your meeting should have an allotted time which should be written down and distributed to everyone before the meeting starts. For example, if you’re planning to allot an hour for presentations, set a timer and let the presenter know that they need to wrap things up soon after it goes off. You can also use a countdown clock that shows how much time is remaining. That way, people won’t impede others’ time to speak.
4. Invite only the people who need to be there (and not everyone on your team)
Invitations should be sent to specific people who need to be there for the meeting. This is especially true of brainstorming sessions and project meetings where some extra input can get in the way of things (and sometimes lead to information overload).
5. Encourage participation from everyone
Every single person in the room should participate and contribute to what’s going on, even if they aren’t in a leadership role in their business. It is very beneficial in the long run to get each person’s perspective and make sure you’re all on the same page. Give everyone a chance to speak and share their thoughts, no matter how big or small they may be.
6. Establish clear outcomes
Before you even begin your business meeting, establish what you want to get out of it. Is it a brainstorming session? A status update on a project you’re working on as a team? Identify the result that you want to achieve from having this meeting and it will ultimately help your business become more efficient.
7. Keep it short
It can be easy to get carried away in meetings but it’s important for each attendee to know that the next meeting will only start when the current meeting is completed. For example, you may not want to schedule your next event back-to-back but if you’re leading a brainstorming session and things seem to be going well, let everyone know at least 4-5 minutes before the timer goes off that it’s time for the next meeting.
8. Plan for breaks ahead of time and let people know that you will be taking them
Breaks can be just as important as the rest of your business meeting. Prepare accordingly and let people know that there will be breaks during the session and their times. This way, they’ll stay focused without feeling like the end is near and they want to rush through everything.
9. Provide snacks or lunch at meetings so attendees don’t have to leave in the middle of the meeting
This is more of a courtesy than anything else but it’s always nice to offer food or snacks at meetings, especially if they are on an extended amount of time. Consider offering lunch as well for meetings that may be longer than usual. This way, people don’t have to worry about getting hungry in the middle of an important topic.
10. Keep distractions away by turning off cell phones and laptops during meetings so they don’t distract from productive discussion
In most cases, business meetings have a specific focus so it’s important to keep distractions out of the way. Turn off your cell phones and laptops so that your meeting stays on track and you aren’t tempted to check your email or phone for notifications during a productive time.
If you follow these simple steps at your next business meeting, you’ll start to see a difference in how productive it can be for your business. The main thing to consider is that you should always keep your focus on what’s important at the moment and take steps to avoid distractions. With this, you will have more efficient meetings that can lead to success in your industry.