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How to make meetings go smoother

Let's face it, not too many of us love going to business meetings! For the most part, meetings seem to be a waste of time and of money. Most business meetings lack enthusiasm and need a lot of help. If you are a meeting leader, facilitator or trainer, and you are about to conduct a meeting, there are some simple steps to follow on how to make meetings go smoother.

In order to run a smooth meeting, make sure that you:
Understand the goals of the meeting and the company or organization.
Keep the group on a schedule and keep moving forward with the goals of the meeting.
Respect others opinions and let them feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.

Before the meeting starts there are some preparations to be addressed:
Needed Materials
Make sure to have the materials you need. Bring handouts, markers, pens, paper, overheads, computer, music and whatever else you will need during the presentation. Having all the materials at hand will help you to have a smoother meeting than having to stop every few minutes to find something.
Stick with the agenda
An agenda should have specific goals set to be addressed in the meeting. Have the participants follow along and give input when appropriate. Set specific time limits to the items on the agenda and stay within those limits.Nothing is more annoying than carrying a meeting over the scheduled time.
Remind the participants
There should be verbal and written reminders weeks before and down to the day of the meeting. Everyone should be well aware when and where the meeting is taking place.
Plenty of room
Make sure to reserve a space plenty big enough. Be aware of the atmosphere, temperature and set up of the room in a comfortable way. Limit any outside noise if you have control over that. Remember that treats are always a plus to keep the attention of the members.

When the meeting starts:
Make sure it starts on time
Try not to wait too long for any late stragglers. The more prompt you are the more people will show up on time for the next meeting. Plus, people will take you more seriously the more professional you are.

After the meeting starts, introduce any new members or have them introduce themselves. After members are introduced, then introduce the person that will be speaking. This helps people feel more comfortable with one another.
Address issues
Following the agenda will help target all the issues that need to be discussed. Let people give their opinion and input freely. Let them give different ideas and objections if needed.Try to come to a common ground on resolving any problems. Trust will come among each other as long as they can express themselves as needed without restraint. Make sure people keep proper conduct as different views are being expressed.
Mediate the conversation
Remember to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Make sure if things are being repeated, to summarize the responses. Listening to the same thing over and over again can be very annoying and it will waste a lot of time.

Remember to close the meeting properly:
Sum up the business meeting
Even if some problems are left unsolved, acknowledge everyone's participation and sum them up with a few words. Recap your plan of action: Who's doing what? Did you meet your goals? What's next?
Positive ending
Always remember to end your meetings on time! People will stop listening the very minute the meeting is supposed to be over. If you do need a little more time, make that clear to those in attendance and apologize. Make sure to always end meetings on a positive note. Thank those who participated in the presentation and thank all who gave their input. A successful closure will be important! This will help participants leave with a better understanding that they will use for the future.

Remember, when making a business meeting go smoother, you need to have an organized presentation with interesting content. Focus on the overall goals that will benefit everyone in attendance. Listen to what participants have to say and respect their opinion. Always create a place of learning and of comfort. Be upbeat and remember to have fun!!

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