Communication is an essential component of any business, and meetings are one part of that communication. Planning an effective meeting consists of three steps: you need to have a plan, manage the conversation, and take action following the talks.
Overtime you all might have faced a meeting that wasn’t adequately managed. Perhaps the time frame was not specified or the agenda wasn’t defined well enough. To avoid wasting time and resources, you need proper planning while arranging any conference or meeting. It has been estimated that unproductive meetings cost employers about $37 billion per year, in US alone.
Below is a list of considerations that anyone should take into account while planning an effective meeting:
Things to Consider While Planning a Meeting
When planning a meeting is fundamental to keep in mind the following objectives to ensure that everyone attending can get the right value out of it.
A meeting should
- Achieve its purpose.
- Have a clear goal.
- Should allow a team to work together, creating a sense of community.
There are four major parts of a meeting to consider to make sure the above points are successfully met:
- Meeting planning
- Setting up the meeting
- Carrying out the session and
- Following up afterward
Steps to Planning An Effective Meeting
Step 1: Determine the purpose of the meeting
Whenever you are planning a meeting, you need to be sure that there’s a goal to achieve. You can’t do a session without having a purpose. It will be a waste of valuable time and resources. 65% of senior managers reported that unproductive meetings kept them from completing more important tasks.
To set the right objective, you can look at these questions:
- What is the primary purpose of this meeting?
- Is the goal clear to every member who’s attending the meeting?
Always plan a meeting with a final achievement in mind, otherwise, it’s better to skip it.
You can use the following vocabulary while setting a goal.
- Decision Making
- Team building activities
Step 2: Define the Goals/Objectives
You need to set outcomes for an effective meeting. What results do you seek after the meeting?
The takeaways can include any of the following:
- An innovative idea
- The solution to an existing problem
- A decision
- Building a cooperative environment
- A commitment
- Motivating the staff
Make the roadmap of your meeting more detailed by adding the required outcomes to it. Remember that an objective should have a ”so that” statement to it.
For example “The investment on the social media platform is essential so that customer engagement will increase“.
Step 3: Decide who Needs to be there
You don’t always need the entire team during a meeting. You must identify who’s supposed to be a part of the gathering and who shouldn’t. This can be decided based on the roles of all the individuals in your organization.
You should pick the team members who
- Are interested in the project,
- Are working on the project,
- Have relevant information, and
- Possess specialized knowledge that is useful for the purpose of the meeting
Each member should also be thoroughly prepared. The meeting planner should:
- Review all points regarding the meeting
- Deliver a report of the work on the project until the date
- Bring materials to distribute
- Lead the discussion
Step 4: Outline Information that Needs to Be Shared
You need to be specific about the information you want to share. You can distribute information in the form of:
- Pie Charts
- Visual representations
- PowerPoint presentations
- Excel sheets
After you’ve collected all the information, it must be shared with every attendee.
There are other things you might need to give away during the meeting, which includes the following:
- Power cards
There are a few more arrangements, like projectors and a screen, as well, which could be useful, depending on the meeting you are going to run.
Step 5: Create the Schedule or Agenda of the Meeting
After you are done with the necessary preparations for the session, you need to decide the flow of the meeting, which can be as given below:
- Start time
- The estimated time slot for discussing each problem
- Time for the introduction and inclusion of the agenda
- Time for various activities like discussions or presentations.
- Inclusion of a responsible person of each agenda’s item
- Documentation if votes are taken regarding any issue.
You should always leave enough scope for inclusion of any last-minute activities.
Step 6: Notify Attendees in Advanced
Every person attending the meeting should be notified in advance. You need to make sure that your invitation has reached every person involved in the management of the process.
Step 7: Running the Meeting
The meeting should have an appropriate sequence and timing. The basic flow of the meeting could be as highlighted below:
- A short welcome and introduction
- Warm-up activities
- Describing the purpose of the meeting
- Description of desired outcomes
- Background discussion
- Reviewing the agenda
- Clarifying expectations
- Revision of ground rules
- Assigning roles
Step 8: Follow-ups of the Meeting
The meeting isn’t really done after the session is drawn to a close. You need to carry out a follow-up procedure, which consists of the following steps:
- Write and distribute the minutes of the meeting
- You need to file the agenda, outcomes, and the minutes of the meeting
- After the meeting, you need to follow up on what activities will be taking place
- Review the information obtained from the feedback of the attendees.
- Set a time for pre-planning of the next meeting
The meeting should be engaging and every participant should be involved actively. The planners need to make sure that each aspect of the meeting is perfect and that the sessions run smoothly with regular follow-ups. The minutes of the meeting are essential and should be noted carefully.
If you follow all the points given above, you will be able to conduct a session smoothly, and the meeting will meet every expectation that participants had from it.