Planning a well-executed business meeting
I am sure you have all experienced meetings only to walk out wondering what was achieved and what the purpose was.
Hopefully, the following steps will help you successfully plan meetings that will invigorate your team and generate specific outcomes to grow the business.
Step 1: Consider what the purpose of the meeting is?
This is the most important step and will influence how you will proceed.
Typical examples include:
- Decision making
- Information sharing
- Education and development
- Product launch
Step 2: Is a meeting necessary, and what format should it take?
Once you have reviewed this, an objective decision should be made as to whether a meeting needs to take place. You may find that other forms of communication could be as effective and be more time-efficient for all concerned. Could a simple email or phone call have the desired impact?
Face to face meetings may be good, but there are other time-saving alternatives like Skype or conference calls that could be effectively used.
Step 3: Create an agenda
Think about what needs to be discussed and allocate time per topic. Whoever is chairing the meeting should be a good timekeeper and will need to be responsible for keeping the meeting on point.
Remember peoples attention span is limited so create a focused agenda that doesn’t drag on.
Also, keep in view what the desired outcome or call to action is likely to be.
Step 4: Who should be invited?
Once you have an agenda, you need to think who needs to attend the meeting.
Be clear as to why they need to be there, who should be presenting, and why?
There will be participants ( who need to be informed) and those who may have a dual role where they deliver as well. ( ie the Contributors).
The size of the overall group is important and is again dependent on the topic being discussed. Don’t be frightened to bring in participants partway through the meeting just for the areas that are relevant to them.
Step 5: Defining and devolving responsibilities
Consider the following roles:
The chairperson or facilitator ( Possibly you)
The role is to guide the discussions and make sure that the meeting runs to time.
This may also mean managing those individuals set on hijacking the meetings for their own purposes or gains.
A minute taker to capture key points, actions and outcomes.
A contributor who are “Topic specialists” responsible for delivering certain key areas in a way that keeps the discussion lively and on track.
Participants – The audience who will be responsible for the deliverables that arise as an outcome of the meeting.
Step 6: Where is the meeting to be held?
Now you know how many people need to attend you need to think about location.
- Is it held in a room at your business or at an offsite location?
- What tools do you need for delivery- overheads, flipchart, etc.
- Room set-up – formal or informal.
- Will, there be virtual participants – if so what will you be using with them?
- Depending on the length of the meeting, are refreshments required?
Step 7: Sending out invitations to attend
It is important to make sure that if you have look at colleagues calendars you check that they are available.
Send out the agenda and any material that may require to read. Also, allow them to have enough time to prepare for areas that they will be delivering.
If appropriate have an Any Other Business opportunity (AOB) where other appropriate things may be raised.
Step 8: Finalising the detail
Distribute the final version to participants. Make surer that all concerned are aware of what they need to do prior to the meeting.
Makes sure that the participants are clear as to what is expected.
Check any equipment and consider having a plan b if the electronic visuals don’t work.
Also, be aware of what co-presenters are looking to deliver. This saves embarrassment particularly if they are not delivering as per the brief was given to them.
Send out any pre-reading a day or two in advance of your meeting and make it clear that participants, not presenters are expected to review materials before they arrive.
Step 9: Call to action
A meeting is only as good as the action it results in. Every meeting with an agenda should have the outcomes which are measurable, achievable and sustainable, with a defined timeline. As the organiser it will be your responsibility to make sure that these happen.
Hopefully, by taking these tips on board you will be able to create better meetings that will help drive your business forward.
Simon Lewin is a Business Growth Manager (BGM) for the Building Legacies programme and specialises in – Strategies for Winning Business, Face-to-Face Sales and Pitching and Presenting.
Simon provides the following areas of support to his Building Legacies clients: Building business relationships, Sales Retention/ Growth, and Implementing measurable achievable and sustainable processes.