December 3 2021
Six necessary conditions for an effective business meeting
Have you ever been taking part in a business meeting wondering… why? Maybe you are organizing one, knowing full well that talking over a couple issues in front of your boss will not bring any meaningful progress? Find out what conditions need to be met for your business meetings to be truly effective.
Set the goal of the meeting and see if it is actually necessary
Think what you want to achieve by holding a meeting. What is supposed to be the result? If you don’t, you will only be wasting time. And not just your time. Even if your goals are determined, think if another meeting is still necessary. Perhaps it’d be enough to hold a videoconference, or ask specific questions over an email and set a relatively close answer time? Additional benefit of such a solution is leaving a written trail of certain actions or arrangements.
See how much it would cost
Do you know how much an hour of your work is worth? What about other participants? Add it all up and calculate the time necessary for the meeting. The number you get can be surprisingly high. Decide if it is worth bearing these costs. You can also estimate the cost of organizing the meeting, especially if it takes place outside the company’s seat. Travel cost, venue rental, parking, possibly accommodation and catering, etc… Weigh those against expected benefits. Do you still think it is worth it?
Read also: Six Rules of Effective Brainstorming
Accurately determine how much time you are going to need
Most meetings don’t take the amount of time that was set in the agenda and the invitation. It’s normal, so ensure a 30% time reserve to be on the safe side. If a meeting ends a couple minutes early, everyone will be grateful for saving this time. If you realize that you have only 20 minutes left and there is no way you can finish before, let everyone know that, and ask them about the prospects for prolonging the meeting. Important note: it is an organizer’s duty to keep the time, but it is best to appoint one of the participants to do just that.
Make sure everybody has all the information they need
The agenda is only the beginning. We recommend attaching additional information to the invitation: data or compilations relevant for every participant. Be ready to reach for additional data on company’s disks. Google Drive or Dropbox work well. Make sure everybody has access, and all files work and can be accessed online. Ask if anyone you’ve invited wants to add anything to the agenda.
You may also be interested in:6 pro tips for an effective online meeting.
Good start, or ‘Punctuality is the politeness of kings’
No matter what, start the meeting on time. It is the sign of professionalism. Waiting for the late comers only distracts those who came on time and makes them focus of other things, texting or making phone calls, etc… What to do if you have to wait, because you were explicitly told to do so? Start with introductions and welcome everyone. Remind the meeting’s goal and agenda. Let participants ask questions if they have any in advance. Ask them to turn their mobiles off, look up from their email inboxes and focus on the topic at hand. Important: it is a must to appoint one person to take notes from the meeting. If the meeting is external, remember to introduce all participants. Also make sure that everybody stays on topic as much as possible, and watch the time of every speech.
After the meeting, or what’s next
At the meeting’s end briefly sum things up. Present the steps to follow to everyone and identify who needs to do what and when. Then fill in any blanks in the notes and prepare the summary which you will send to all participants and upload to the company’s disk. The sooner you do that, the more detailed and concrete it will be, and in turn the meeting will be more effective. Be sure to put tasks from the summary in the work management system. Remember to monitor the progress of those tasks.
The recommendations above probably do not cover everything that can make your meetings most efficient, however following them should let you keep control over the processes and solidify your professional image. And that is a very important thing.
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