Whether you have been coordinating meetings for decades or days there are some simple tips to follow to make any meeting more productive and the attendees feel welcomed. There are times when meetings seem to plan themselves especially when the majority of the week is spent attending or planning several meetings! People may quickly migrate to an open room and start discussing random topics, etc. or an agenda is created, the room is reserved, but the topics are not clear. The planning doesn’t stop once an invite is sent out, does it?
So how can you make your meetings more engaging?
- Create a clear agenda
- Note who needs to attend and why (their role, involvement, etc.)
- Define a timeframe
- Clarify the main topic and any subtopic points
- Categorize or assign topics to attendees if appropriate
- If necessary, provide background data before the meeting in a bullet point format
- Develop a few questions that need to be answered (to stay on topic)
- Request special equipment/room setup if required
- Room setup
- Reserve the room/location if necessary
- Make sure room is set up appropriately for the specific meeting (if another meeting was there prior, can that format work for your meeting)
- Provide a few notepads and pens in case they are needed
- Test the equipment, monitors, lighting, temperature, etc.
- Provide a pitcher of ice water and cups for guests
- The Extras
- If a meal is required ask about food restrictions, etc. (and provide mints or gum)
- Provide trash/recycling bins and cleanup options
- If guests are coming from out of town or outside the organization ensure they have directions, clear instructions on where to check in, who to ask for, etc.
- Inform security or receptionist of incoming guests if necessary
- Create a building map, contact sheet, etc. for invited guests
- Make copies or provide data via a shared drive, jump drive, email, etc.
- Take detailed minutes if appropriate
- Keep the meeting focused on the topic during the allotted time and schedule additional meetings as needed
I realize some of these may seem time consuming or simple, but it’s the little extras that can make a meeting more productive and the attendees more comfortable and ready to focus. With a clear agenda and appropriate setup, a meeting can be spent on the main topic, not on distractions or rearranging a room.
What process do you always use to ensure a meeting is engaging?
Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.
You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager