This is how you get the most out of business meetings
When you gather colleagues and partners in one place for a business meeting, it is because you have an objective to achieve. However, the act of bringing a large number of individuals together needs careful planning and management if you want it to be productive.
For those of us short on time, business meetings can be a thorn in your side. With the different types of office locations available today, you can even get meeting and conference rooms for free, at rented office spaces like Liverpool Science Park.
There is nothing worse than a badly run business meeting. Hours spent going round and round in circles, only to have the meeting end in a rush, with no conclusion reached. Worse still, half of the people that need to be there are missing, and the ones doing the talking have no real idea about the issue.
And all the things that you could have done in that time.
Always the same- but not this one. You want your business meeting to be different.
You want to run your business meeting to be productive and efficient.
So how do you get the most out of business meetings?
Read on for the best five ways to run a business meeting effectively:
- Circulate a tight agenda: Never arrange a meeting without circulating a carefully planned agenda first. As you organise the agenda, keep it as economical as possible.
Consider who needs to be present for decisions to be made ? Allocate realistic timescales for each item. Leave a short amount of free space at the end for the inevitable overrun that will happen somewhere (that way you will still finish on time).
Circulate the agenda, as well as any required reading well in advance of the meeting date.
Use scheduling apps like doodle.com to make sure that the time, date and venue are suitable for everyone, as well as keeping track of attendees.
- AOB: It is very easy to run a tight meeting, only to have it all fall apart at the end during Any Other Business. Avoid the distraction that AOB can be, by requesting any items for AOB when the agenda is sent.
Sift through any items for AOB carefully. Decide whether you will add them to AOB, add them as an item on the next meeting agenda or deal with them through another method. Let the sender know your decision.
- Fit for purpose: Think about whether a meeting is the best method of communication before any item is added to the agenda. Could the issue be dealt with via a different method, such as a phone call, smaller meeting or group email?
- Facilitate the meeting: A meeting won’t run itself. Keep things on track by sticking to the timescales that you planned. Don’t allow people to stay on one subject for too long. Thank them for their contributions and move on.
- Use time-keeping apps like com to help you to manage your time effectively.
- Useful minutes: Ensure that someone else is recording the minutes for the meeting. Note any agreed actions, particularly what will be done and who has agreed to do it. Later that day, or the next day, send the minutes to all those invited to the meeting, including a summary of agreed actions, stating who will carry out each task and by when.
With a carefully planned agenda and confident facilitation, you can break the mould and run your business meeting effectively. Use plenty of planning, good communication and efficient management to make your next business meeting the one that finishes early.
Do you agree? What are your top tips for keeping a business meeting on track? Have you got a favourite scheduling app? Add your comments below – we would love to hear what you think!