Let’s face it: at some point in our lives, we’ve all come out of a meeting feeling that it wasn’t very productive and our time could’ve been better spent elsewhere. So where’s it going wrong?
For a meeting to be a true success, leaving attendees satisfied that lots has been achieved, solid planning is required. The trick is not to leave anything to chance. We’ve come up with a pre-meeting checklist to help set your meeting up for success:
Define a Clear Goal
What’s the purpose of the meeting? Is it to make a decision, solve a problem, motivate the team, or inform employees about a new direction? Defining a clear goal is important so your meeting has direction and isn't a waste of time.
Draw up an Agenda
An agenda will add structure to your meeting but it will also do the same for your preparation, guiding you on the length of the meeting, who to invite and how much time is allocated for the discussion of each item.
Invite the Right Participants
Who you invite to participate in the meeting will of course be dictated by the meeting's objective. If it’s a business strategy meeting, participants will be limited to key decision makers. On the other hand, if it’s an ideation session, the more creative minds in the room, the better. Ultimately though, invitations should only be sent out to those who absolutely have to attend – time is money, after all.
Give Each Participant a Role
Once you’ve established who should attend the meeting, the next thing you should do is assign roles or topics to cover for each participant. Not only will this help with the flow of the meeting, it can increase focus and engagement for everyone involved. Roles to assign include: chairperson, scribe, timekeeper, contributor and expert.
Find a Suitable Location/Venue
When deciding where to hold the meeting, it's often best to head off-site. A new location and change of scenery can have a positive effect on employees, making them more responsive, focused and enthusiastic about being away from the office. When choosing a venue, it should be judged against its accessibility for attendees, how many people it can accommodate, and the environment it offers for your meeting. Working with a venue finding agency is beneficial here as they can offer personal recommendations on factors you may not have considered such as service and food.
Source any Essential Equipment
What equipment will you need for your meeting? If you're running a presentation alongside the meeting, ensure the venue has the appropriate technology and AV equipment to support this, along with the reassurance that all delegates can easily connect laptops, tablets and get on to the Wi-Fi
Don't Forget the Food
It goes without saying that food will be required to keep everyone going for longer. Food and drink might seem like a small detail, but it can have a big impact on productivity and engagement levels. If your meeting is going to last all day, you'll want to ensure everyone is fuelled with snacks and lunch. Find a venue that offers a range of high-quality refreshments, and if possible, test them prior to the meeting.
Send the Invitation Agenda
This one does what it says on the tin. In addition to the agenda, send any reports, pre-reading, or requests for materials that may require preparation from participants.
All that’s left to do is to ensure you’re prepped with handouts, a confirmed attendee list and other documents which will help you deliver a meeting that achieves its objectives and leaves participants feeling like it was a good use of their time.
What you do before your meeting is just as important as what you do in it. Pre-meeting planning is vital to ensure everything runs smoothly and objectives are being met.