Planning successful corporate meetings can be harder than it sounds. While anyone can get a group of people in a room talking, an effective meeting has so much more to it and requires planning and preparation. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Firstly, the key is ensuring that the right people – and only the right people – are invited and can make the planned date and time. If a decision is needed, are those able to do this going to be there? And will they have all the information at their fingertips to enable them to do that? If not, can reports or briefings be provided at the meeting – either in paper form or from an expert, or can these be compiled and circulated in advance?
2. Choose corporate meeting venue wisely
Secondly, consider the meeting venue. Meeting in the office can be very useful if it’s a short and sharp agenda, or if large numbers of staff need to attend, but it also brings with it the risk of interruption if other matters arise. If it’s a long or especially important meeting, consider hiring an external room so that everyone can fully concentrate on the matter at hand. Refreshments matter as well – hungry and thirsty delegates do not good decisions make. Hot drinks and water should be on the table at every meeting, consider either cakes or biscuits or even a buffet if your meeting threatens to be a long one and you don’t want to, or don’t have time, to break off for lunch.
3. Publish clear-cut agenda – and stick to it
Another key consideration is the agenda of the meeting and its moderation. A good meeting has a clear purpose and a clear desired outcome that is evident to everyone present. Keeping the agenda tight is also a sign of good intent, and if there is a moderator present so that the agenda is kept to without side issues creeping in and derailing the meeting then that is both ideal and also signals to attendees that this is a serious meeting with purpose.
On the day of the meeting, consider brief introductions if there is anyone new to the company or a project, or if groups of delegates do not know each other, but try to get started with the agenda as soon as possible. Starting with a brief outline of how the morning or day is expected to go is often beneficial, so that everyone is on the same page from the outset.
After that, the key consideration is keeping as close as possible to the published agenda. Of course, events outside of your control or that come about as a result of discussions within the meeting or even very recent events can come by and derail plans, but try and keep these to a minimum.