Preparation is the most important step when planning a successful meeting. It’s said that the more preparation and legwork you put in beforehand, the more effective and efficient both you and the attendees of your event will be.
On the other side of the coin, poorly organized meetings are a serious waste of time that no business can afford. If you don’t use your time well, you’ll lose out on productive hours.
So, how do you plan your next business meeting? Outlined below is a meeting preparation checklist that’ll assist you in efficiently planning your meetings. Keep on reading to learn more.
1. Determine The Purpose Of The Meeting
Establishing a meeting purpose statement is a crucial step in this process. This is a concise explanation of the meeting’s purpose, format, and intended outcomes. Having a meeting purpose provides context for the entire gathering and can guide agenda and other aspects of pre-meeting preparation.
Which tasks require attention? Once you know why you’re doing something, you can start organizing a strategy to get there.
Here are a few examples of statements that could be used for such a purpose in a meeting:
- The purpose of this meeting is to generate concepts for the upcoming new product launch campaign.
- The purpose of this meeting is to review the current status of the web design project and to divide up the responsibilities for the next stage.
- The meeting’s agenda will focus on analyzing financial reports and identifying budgeting inefficiencies.
As you can see, each statement and intended result articulates exactly what’s expected from the individuals who are going to attend the meeting.
2. Decide On The Meeting Location And Make Sure It’s Available
Finding a good location for your meeting is crucial when making more productive meetings because it can significantly impact how productive everyone can be. Meeting presentation and ambiance are greatly influenced by the location.
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a location for a business meeting. They include:
- Price. Venue charges can be arranged in a number of ways. Some charge a set rate that includes everything, while others tack on various surcharges. Prior to making a reservation, you should have a thorough understanding of the total cost. Is this all there is, or are there more fees and add-ons? This manner, you can customize the event while staying within your financial limits.
- Size. The ideal meeting location will feature spaces of all sizes to accommodate groups of all shapes and sizes. The first thing to note is the maximum number of guests it can accommodate.
- Facility Services. Before choosing a meeting venue, make sure it has all the services and amenities you require. A fully-equipped conference room should have fast Wi-Fi, a modern projection system, comfortable seats, and access to business technology. You’ll also want soundproof training rooms and on-site tech assistance. These services help create an effective meeting environment.
- Availability. Check if the venue is available for the upcoming meeting. Also, ask if you have access to any optional features, such as equipment, lodging, and the like at the required dates.
- Proximity To Attendees. It’s important that everyone can easily get to the meeting venue. Parking, public transportation, and ease of access are all factors. Virtual meetings can be held from any place, removing the need to worry about travel time and costs.
Your meeting will be more inclusive and productive if the place you choose improves rather than devalues the experience of those who attend. So, choose wisely.
3. Set The Meeting Time
Should you have breakfast meetings, or will people be too sleepy to pay attention? What time of day is best for meetings—lunchtime or the afternoon?
Planning a meeting on the most productive day and time is essential. Meetings should be avoided on Mondays and Fridays because individuals are typically in a rush on the way home on Fridays and still in weekend mode on Mondays. But if Tuesday through Thursday are the ideal meeting days, what is the optimal time? Here are some recommendations:
- Avoid early mornings;
- Mid-mornings excellent for energy levels;
- Having meetings in the late afternoon can be counterproductive;
- Having meetings during lunchtime can be effective; however, food must be provided;
- Avoid scheduling meetings immediately after the end of your meals; and
- Consider holding important meetings in the evenings.
4. Prepare The Necessary Tools
There’s a wide range of tools necessary for any business meeting to succeed. A whiteboard and some notes can do the trick in many situations. Yet this isn’t enough for most business meetings.
The modern world provides a lot more options for increasing efficiency and fostering teamwork. Technology has also made it simpler for distant speakers and attendees to take part. Video conferencing, real-time file collaboration, meeting recordings, and some other tools can be found on multiple business platforms.
In most meetings, you’ll probably use the following equipment:
- Sound Systems;
- Power Outlets;
- Audio/Visual Equipment; and
- Tech Tools.
5. Send Final Agenda And Any Documentations Needed For Preparation Or Follow-up
In addition to the meeting’s final agenda, submit any supporting documentation that attendees may need for reading ahead of time or reading during the meeting, or reviewing after the event.
The worst thing that may happen during a presentation is for a listener to say that they were unaware of some key point or that your data is out of date.
So, before the meeting, make sure everyone has an opportunity to check the material you plan to provide and send along any other resources that may be useful in establishing the meeting’s purpose.
6. Prepare Yourself
Have you prepared a draft of your presentation, gone through any practice sessions, printed out some handouts, and taken care of any other last-minute preparations? Putting in the effort to prepare will give you more self-assurance and put you in a better position to have a productive discussion.
Preparation, organization, and respect are key to a successful meeting. Don’t just call a meeting without knowing why. Meetings can generate new ideas, solve problems, handle difficulties, and foster camaraderie. Plan well. Daily meetings happen. Why not make it better next time?