Meetings thrown together without proper planning can turn the opportunity for productive decision making into a waste of valuable company time. To make the most of your working hours, ensure that all meetings are carefully considered and planned out. By preparing for these gatherings ahead of time, you can ensure that your meeting is productive and successful.
1 – Set a clearly defined goal for the meeting as well as a benchmark for success. You should know ahead of time exactly what you plan to discuss as well as what decisions need to be made. This information will help to keep everyone on track and provide you with a clear determination at the end of the meeting as to whether or not you have met your goal.
2 – Create an agenda. Include every topic to be discussed along with a set time allotment for each. Send a copy of the agenda to all participants several days before the meeting to allow for revisions if necessary. If an attendee does not request the addition of another agenda item in a timely fashion, that item will not be addressed in the meeting. Do not allow for last-minute changes unless absolutely necessary as these can destroy the productive flow of the meeting.
3 – Book an appropriate meeting space. Provide enough seating for the attendees to be comfortable, but avoid rooms that are excessively large. For small meetings, an intimate round-table setting will keep conversation flowing. For larger presentations with a small number of speakers, it may be more productive to utilize a classroom setting with tables and chairs facing forward toward a single presenter.
4 – Gather all necessary information and supplies at least one day prior to the meeting. This includes important reports, slide shows and other media necessary for the gathering. You should also arrange for any equipment you may need to set up for the meeting such as a projector, laptop or speakers.
5 – Arrive to the meeting at least ten minutes early to set up the room and ensure that everything is in place such as enough copies of reports or handouts for every attendee plus a few extras for those who want to share the information with others, if appropriate. Start the meeting on time and do not wait for late attendees. This will encourage participants to arrive on time in the future and will avoid the common pitfall of running late.