Planning A Productive Meeting

Some professionals spend most of their working life in meetings, and sometimes they are an effective way of communicating and making decision. Most of those who regularly take part in meetings will tell you that a significant proportion of them feel like a waste of time, usually thanks to a poor planning process. This article details some ways to prepare for a meeting, and things to consider when you decide whether the meeting is really necessary or not. Despite their bad reputation, meetings can be incredibly productive and valuable to a business.

Identify Your Purpose

Firstly you need to identify the purpose of the meeting. Does a decision need to be taken at the meeting, or is it just an opportunity to communicate with and better inform individuals about a decision which needs to be taken in the future. Depending on your purpose you might decide that sending documents via email might be a more efficient way of accomplishing your objectives.

Get The Right People

When you are clear about the purpose of a meeting, it should be obvious who to invite. Cut down on attendees if you want progress to be made, and ensure that the most important people are available and willing to attend. Brainstorming meetings can benefit from having more attendees, but more people can bring an unwillingness to contribute from some people.

Delegate Roles

Some meetings need clearly defined roles for each attendee. This could include someone going through the business to be discussed, usually the person who organised the meeting, as well as other roles such as devil’s advocate and note taker. It can also be helpful to clearly explain responsibilities and authority, so all attendees know who makes the final decision.

Stick to the Agenda

Nothing is as important in guiding a meeting as the agenda. It sets the direction and chronology of the meeting, and should be built around the decisions and objectives of the meeting. If possible the agenda should be circulated to attendees before the meeting, so they know what to expect and whether there are any materials which they could benefit from bringing with them.

Confirm Actions

Meetings are often pointless unless a specific set of actions are decided upon. Once agreement is made and decisions are taken, it’s important to take note of these and inform the participants how the process will evolve. This will help everyone to evaluate the effectiveness of the process and will also accurately document the process.

John Mce writes on a number of subjects including meetings, the greatest meetings in history and conferencing solutions.

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