There are business meetings going on every hour of the day somewhere in the world. Some of these meetings are effective and produce results. Many are a waste of time and resources.
If you are an entrepreneur or a business manager and business meetings are the part of your job profile. You may also have experienced that not all the business meetings you attend are the best use of your time.
So, if you are responsible for organizing or even attending business meetings, make sure you know all what is necessary to make them productive.
This article will discuss five essentials of a business meeting. So, make sure the next business meeting you are going to organize or attend has these items.
1- An Agenda
An agenda helps team members prepare for the meeting. It helps get everyone on the same page and identifies when the meeting will be finished.
To design a good agenda, seek input from meeting participants. People will be more invested in a meeting if they feel that it reflects their needs. Ask for agenda items and for a reason why the items need to be addressed in a meeting and not addressed individually.
The topics selected should affect the entire team and should require the efforts of the entire team to solve the problem. Examples of a good agenda items are how to allocate shared resources or how to reduce response times.
The agenda should clearly lay out the location of the meeting, the time the meeting starts and ends, and any materials participants should bring. It should also identify speakers and the themes they will be presenting.
2- The Location/Environment
The environment where you hold your meeting will impact its effectiveness. Participants should feel comfortable. Staff may not feel comfortable in a meeting held in a posh setting. Conversely, meetings with high profile individuals may work better in a high-caliber location.
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Modern technology has made it possible to hold meetings in virtual locations. In this circumstance, testing Internet connections and the compatibility of devices with the platform being used is a must. All participants should be familiar with the technology being used beforehand. If conference call recording will be used, all participants should be notified and a copy of the recording should be made available to those who may benefit from referring back to it.
3- Time Management
Having a timekeeper helps keep meetings on track and also helps them to end on time. The presenters should know that the timekeeper will tell them how much time they have remaining for the presentation. It will be the responsibility of the presenter to keep their assigned topic within those time constraints.
Another attendee should be designated as the secretary. Their job is to outline the discussion, digitize the information, and transmit the information to all meeting attendees.
4- Banning the Distractions
It’s nice to have snacks at a meeting. They can encourage attendance and make sure that everyone gets there on time. It’s difficult to hold people’s attention if they are eating during the meeting. This can be fixed by setting 30 minutes to an hour before the meeting as eating time. Once the meeting starts, all food is put away and everyone’s focus is on the ideas of the agenda.
Banning cell phones and mobile devices for meetings can make them more productive and quicker. It is difficult to bide for a person’s attention when they have their mobile device with them. Also, if people know that they have to wait until the meeting finishes before they can return phone calls or sends text messages, they may be encouraged to keep things brief and to the point.
5- The Plan of Action at the End of the Meeting
A plan of action is where everyone is reminded of who is responsible for what. They know what the deadline is and what is expected of them. A meeting that does not end with a plan of action is basically a nice chat.
A simple review may be all that is needed to remind people what they will do and when. These same principles can be employed throughout the meeting. If someone says, “We have to call a contractor,” the next question should be, “Who is going to do it and when?”
Wrapping it up….
Having a clear agenda, selecting a comfortable location, designating a timekeeper, reviewing a plan of action, and banning distractions, like cell phones and food, can help make your meeting more productive. Productive meetings mean fewer meetings, which means that your staff can focus on the jobs you hired them to do.