Relationships between work colleagues are absolutely vital to any business. Working together is so important to the success of a business that many of us are guilty of organizing business meetings without any regard for their purpose.
As a result meetings are often run in an inefficient manner ultimately resulting in more meetings being organised due to the inadequacy of the original meeting!
For this reason we have selected 8 tips to fantastic meeting success to help all those stuck in meeting limbo on to the path of business meeting success.
1. Make sure your business meetings have an agenda
An extremely common problem but one that is notoriously prolific is lack of meeting agendas. Without forward planning there is no structure which means that those involved in the meeting are unlikely to have any (real) idea about why they are there. By setting agendas you can set real goals and aims for the meeting and thus bring much needed structure to the meeting.
So how do you set up an agenda? Business meetings are very time orientated so think about splitting a meeting up into sections by time as this can be a very good way of ensuring a meeting flows by focusing on different problems within allotted times. This can also enable you to break down a problematic task into several steps that are dependent upon one another to solve the problem.
Finally organise the agenda for the meeting well in advance and make sure you collaborate with the most important stake holders of the meeting. This way you can make sure all points that are important to these stake holders are covered off. You also give everyone involved a chance to prepare a little in advance of the meeting.
2. Only Take in a Notepad and paper – nothing else
Surprising as it sounds but technological wonders of the modern office can hinder productivity as much as they aid it. Tools that are integral to business meetings (laptops, mobile phones etc) are often prime examples of technological distractions that can leave delegates missing extremely important points during meetings. By cutting out these devices you make sure everyone involved in the meeting is focused on the meeting and not their emails.
3. Provide Time Limits
While we’ve already mentioned that splitting business meetings into smaller sections is important, sometimes it is very easy to try and cram as many discussion points into a meeting as possible. Therefore it is important to also be realistic with timings within meetings. Unhelpful time limits can effect concentration as much as having no plan at all especially when delegates are more concerned about time that to concentrate on the points of the meeting. Give ample time to talk through each agenda point and ask for feedback from delegates over certain meeting keystones.
Of course time limits can still be useful:
1) Got limited time for your meeting? Impose a deadline and make sure the order of your discussions points are in importance order.
2) Limiting time can control a meeting.
3) Avoids procrastination – limited time can focus a meeting on specific points.
4) Give yourself a “Concentration” buffer
If you are heading the business meeting make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get in a state of concentration. In the flurry of preparation one can get a little distracted with the set up of a room rather than the actual meeting. It can take up to 15 minutes to get into the proper frame of mind so it is important to make sure the room is set up well in advance and that you give yourself 15 minutes to get yourself prepared mentally. One option might be dedicate a time slot simply for introductions (if the team are new) or quick catch ups before the main action starts!
5) Organize meetings early in the day
Yes the time of day can also effect the concentration of your delegates. Most people are at their most attentive during the earlier part of the day so having an important meeting at the beginning of the day makes sense. Having a meeting later in the day means that your delegates are likely to be more tired and concerned with other events of the day prior to the meeting leaving them less engaged with the meeting.
6) Think about Seating
Seating might be the last thing on your mind ahead of a big meeting however by placing your most important audience members (and those who might be a little bit more prone to distractions) away from doors, phones and windows you can keep everyone focused on the meeting in hand.
7) Provide plenty of water and avoid any dehydration
Water is incredibly important to the running of any meeting. Mild dehydration impairs concentration and causes irritability, tiredness and light-headiness. Therefore keeping everyone nice and hydrated is essential to the successful running of any meeting and the maintenance of concentration.
8) Hold the Meeting in appropriate settings
Holding a meeting in the right environment is vitally important and should be chosen according to the requirements of the meeting. Whilst coffee shop meetings sound like a great idea sometimes they are a very distracting meeting environment.
The same principle applies to other types of external meeting environments. External meeting rooms give you a quiet and controlled environment however background research are also important. Is the room sound proofed? Is the room near a public corridor? Similarly if you find that your internal meeting rooms are often subject to intrusions from other staff members then perhaps think about moving the meeting to an external environment.
By making sure concentration is at peak levels, the meeting rooms environment is free from distraction and the audience is well informed of the intentions of the meeting so you can ensure that you and the meetings participants get the very most out it.
Ready to plan & host your next business meeting?
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