Any event or activity that is poorly planned and lacks rehearsal often generates a negative and weak result. Things get messed up when the participants or the individuals involved are at a loss as to what to do and what roles to perform.
An effective and successful meeting can be greatly attributed to adequate preparation by the meeting facilitator or organizers. Whether it is a formal or informal meeting, its outcome relies not just on the participants but on how well the preparation was made throughout the whole process.
The facilitator or in-charge is responsible for spearheading the necessary preparations of a meeting. This task can be pretty meticulous and painstaking, but understanding the methods and factors in preparation will make things easy somehow.
Preparations Prior to the Meeting Proper
If you are the meeting leader, you must have a clear purpose for setting the meeting. Making the meeting agenda is the next thing to do. An agenda is one of the most important aspects of the preparation. In creating the agenda, it is best to consult the meeting committee and organizers for their inputs.
Generate a list of the meeting participants and set the date and time of the session. Sufficient time has to be spared for this kind of preparation. A week or two prior to the meeting proper will be enough to set things straight.
If the upcoming session is preceded by a previous meeting, revisit the minutes of the last meeting to check if there are agenda items that are not completely and thoroughly discussed. These things need to come first on the next meeting so that appropriate actions and a settled decision will be arrived at before proceeding with the new list of agenda topics.
Physical Preparation: Meeting Venue and Logistics
The meeting logistics is another important factor in the preparation. This includes the physical arrangements such as the venue or location, venue size or space, proper ventilation, facilities, proper amenities and equipment, and the use of visual aids.
Typically, a meeting is held in a conference room. But depending on the size of participants, the venue space should be suitable for everyone. If your office conference room will not fit a departmental meeting, you might want to try outside venues apt for the number of attendees. The meeting room must have enough chairs and tables to accommodate the members. It is unethical to let the attendees bring their own chairs to a meeting.
People participate well in a comfortable atmosphere. That is why adequate facilities and needed amenities must be highly considered when choosing conference rooms outside office premises for large meetings. Make sure that the lighting is adequate for reading. Include the dimmer switches as well for audiovisual presentations. The room must be well-ventilated with sufficient air conditioning that has the feature to automatically adjust the room temperature.
If certain technical equipment is needed such as a microphone and speakers, make sure these are checked and tested prior to the meeting proper. The same thing must be done to your audiovisual materials like an overhead projector and PowerPoint presentation. You would want to get rid of technical difficulties on the equipment that may affect the course of your meeting.
Final Meeting Preparations
Meetings need not necessarily be rehearsed. But it has to be well-prepared for individuals to follow a structure through the agenda. So once the agenda is finalized, the committee is ready to send out meeting requests and this preparation should be done a few more days before the meeting starts.
During the day of the meeting, be the first to arrive at the venue to double check on the logistical arrangements and make sure that everything is all set. If there are handouts to be distributed to the members, produce enough copies for everyone.
Make sure that the minute taker is ready with the necessary materials for recording such as pens and journals. The meeting committee must show up first before attendees do in order to help out the facilitator with the last minute details.
As with a successful theater play because of rigid rehearsals, well-prepared meetings contribute a lot to its success. In the long run, meeting preparations will be a lot easier when future meetings need to be conducted.