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Proactive Preparation – How To Plan For A Successful Business Meeting

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Absolutely no-one likes to waste their time attending a business meeting that hasn’t been planned properly and ends up being a drain on resources instead of the productivity boost it should be. There are many problems people come up against when it comes to holding an efficient business meeting including a lack of planning from the presenter or host, a lack of interest or research by attendees, poor management of the meeting, and absences to name a few.

A common issue in some companies, or especially for freelancers and smaller enterprises who don’t have the facilities available, can even be finding the right environment for a meeting. To get off to a good start, make sure you invest in finding suitable meeting rooms that can fit your business needs.

Let’s take a closer look at some advice and tips on how you can take the necessary steps to set up your business meeting to be effective and productive.

Create A Meeting Plan

When first deciding to hold a business meeting, it is vital that you clarify the purpose of the meeting. In order to make your motives clear to business partners, clients or employees, the best method of preparing initially so that all involved can plan accordingly is to produce an agenda. In this meeting plan, it is advisable to layout the main points that will be discussed in the meeting, with an approximation of the time allotted for each item and an indication of the stakeholders who should be involved in debating each specific topic.

Additionally, any pre-meeting preparation should include indications of what type of information or data collection is required and what type of resolution management style will be adopted. There are different kinds of decision-making processes and it should be clear how issues will be dealt with and solutions will be found.

What, Where, When, Who

Asking these important questions in the preparation stage of your meeting is paramount in order to ensure the optimal number of participants are able to attend. It is important to research the location and time and date of the meeting beforehand so that all those who need to be present, can be

For large businesses, it can be easy to simply reserve a meeting room or space within their own company installations, however, SMEs, self-employed individuals and freelancers often find themselves at a loss when it comes to finding a suitable place to hold a meeting. This problem can be easily resolved by booking a meeting room from an external provider. It is essential to remember to explain all of your spacial, technical and catering requirements to the meeting room supplier and also to confirm the information before the event to ensure no hiccups on the day.

Ensure that the meeting room you choose to use adapts to your needs correctly as there are various styles and sizes such as smaller one-on-one meeting rooms for interviews or larger boardroom-style spaces for stakeholder meetings.

Another very important stage is to invite the relevant participants. Anyone who is involved with the project or issue, who is necessary for decision-making steps or those with the requisite expertise should be invited. It can also be beneficial to assign roles to your attendees so that everyone knows exactly what they need to be doing.

Prepare handouts if necessary but be careful not to print too much. Not only is it often a waste of paper and of course bad for the environment, but with a booklet in front of them, your attendees are likely to get distracted and not give their full attention.

Finally, also send out a reminder closer to the date to ensure everyone is aware of the time and place with any preparations needed ready.

Advice For Holding An Effective Business Meeting

Although it is not always the case, try to keep meetings as short as possible. Keep things on track and to the point so that time is not wasted by going off-topic. Other themes that arise which need to be addressed can be added to the meeting minutes to be discussed at a later date.

Keep the atmosphere as positive as possible and ensure to play judge if necessary to avoid any heated discussions arising. Also, you can put a time-limit for people to voice their opinions so that no one person ends up leading the meeting down a negative line.

Try to be flexible with your meeting. If things are not going the way you envisaged them, it is wise to change tactics to keep people engaged. You can approach the items on your agenda using different styles such as brainstorming as a group to come up with pain points and possible solutions.

Use technology. There are many apps and programmes available nowadays that allow you to present your information in a variety of ways, ensuring maximum retention and securing the interest of your viewers. Do not miss out on the opportunity to win over your attendees by using audiovisual cues. But remember to test out any technology beforehand so there won’t be any bugs popping up last minute.

Coming to a conclusion in your meeting is also highly important. If you leave a meeting open-ended, people often feel like it was unproductive or even pointless. It is highly recommended that you close with a plan of action involving the stakeholders present and discussing the tasks that need to follow.

Finally, when you have completed your meeting, it is essential to write a meeting summary for those who attended and others who may need to know the outcome and main points of the meeting such as supervisors or managers.

Become A Meeting Master

To ensure a successful meeting, your planning is key. Going into a meeting unprepared demonstrates a lack of professionalism and even a lack of interest. Producing a meaningful, significant and well-thought-out agenda for your business meeting will help ensure efficiency and productivity throughout the meeting as well as when you implement your resolutions or tasks to create a project.