Effective business meetings - how to plan and conduct them
Business meetings are generally met with rolling eyes and deep sighs of imminent boredom.Many business people see the business meeting as an evil but driving force of the company.Terms such as boring, long, unproductive, repetitive and annoying are often associated with business meetings.But it doesn't have to be this way.With a little training and some determination to follow these simple suggestions, your next business meeting can be a success!
Planning - PLAN AHEAD!
- Do you even need the meeting - If some issue can be solved among a few people, do it!You should in no way feel obligated to involve the whole group when one or two people can resolve the issues.
- Who needs to attend (keep it small and specific) - Only those directly involved with the issues that need to be discussed should be at the meeting.It is proven that smaller groups get more done.Having too many people at your business meeting will only make coming to a consensus that much more difficult.If you need to, only invite certain people to certain parts of the meeting that apply to them and then excuse them when discussion on that topic is finished.
- Set specific start and stop times - Know exactly when your meeting should start and how long your meeting should last.A definite start and stop time will help keep you on track and will avoid burn-outs (and boredom).
- Agenda (circulate in advance) - Have an agenda.Don't go into a meeting blindly, have a plan for what needs to be discussed.Furthermore, have this agenda available ahead of time so that people will come to your business meeting prepared about what will be discussed.
- Prepare visual aids and presentation ahead of time (read through to become familiar) - There is nothing worse than going to a business meeting where the one actually conducting the meeting is not prepared.If you are asking people to take time away from their responsibilities to attend your meeting, make it worth their while.Have the courtesy of planning ahead and being prepared with your agenda.Your meeting will run smother and your colleagues will thank you for it.
Conducting - STICK TO THE AGENDA!
- Start at the assigned time (do not fill in the late comers) - When you tell people that a meeting is going to start at a specific time, start at that specific time!You need not plan for lat comers as they have not shown you the courtesy of planning to be on time for your meeting.Filling late comers in on the details that they missed wastes time and is simply not necessary.Trust me, next time they will know that you mean business when you say when a meeting starts.
- Start with easily resolved issues then move on to meatier ones - Begin your business meetings with the small issues.After resolving the easy questions, move on to the more challenging ones.Not only will your employees be in the problem solving mentality by now, but you will not have burnt them out with bigger issues right from the start.
- Do not spend too much time on a topic (or allow the conversation to run in circles) - Know ahead of time how much time you are going to dedicate to a particular issue.Do not waste time running around in dialogue circles.If a solution cannot be found at this time, simply move on.Some issues take months to resolve.Do not try to force a solution when one cannot be found.
- If needed save unresolved topics for another meeting -If a solution cannot be found in the time allotted simple schedule to address this topic again in the next meeting or meet with a smaller group of individuals late on to pound out the details.