Meetings play an important role in management and communication. An effective meeting increases work productivity, saves time, elicits motivation from employees, and becomes a tool for problem resolution. To the meeting participants, meetings generate new ideas and proposals. Also, it helps disperse conflict in a way that email communication and company memos cannot. How can we make effective and successful meetings?
A good and strategic planning contributes to an effective and productive meeting output since desirable results start with good planning anyway. For a business organization, since meetings are needed to discuss strategies, having an effecting meeting planning can be beneficial for a successful marketing strategy. A well thought-out meeting plan follows a structured process and outline from start to finish, even until the follow-up process.
Strategic Meeting Planning
The meeting facilitator plays a huge responsibility in creating plans for meetings. For larger meetings such as a conference or organizational meeting, a company may hire an event organizer to take care of the planning and organizing. The meeting organizer must discern if assistance from other employees is needed to help out in planning the meeting. One way to do this is to ask for any concern that they would like to bring up so that it will be included in the agenda items for discussion. If a project is to be worked on, the meeting manager may generate the plan single-handedly.
Every meeting has to have a vision or a purpose. Initial planning starts with identifying the “what” and “why” of a meeting. Assuming that previous meetings have already taken place, the group may develop a time plan for future goals. Vary your meeting types from a group session to one-on-one discussion.
The making of a meeting agenda is an important aspect in the planning. The agenda is a very important tool that contains the structural framework of the entire meeting process where the whole planning is relied upon. Part of the strategic planning in a meeting is to select the list of participants for the session, only those who are directly involved in the discussion and those who can contribute to the goals of the meeting. Setting meeting schedule is also a crucial aspect in the planning. Always check the convenient schedules of the participants to avoid last-minute changes in the meeting schedule.
Always prepare for any unexpected circumstances. So be ready with handouts or writing materials in case the attendees fail to bring these items. Setting a time limit to end the meeting as well as in every agenda item is very important. Make sure that participants stay on track and focused on the topic.
The Meeting Agenda
Meetings are never without an agenda which serve as the ultimate guide of the entire process. In developing the meeting plan, this is the part that every meeting facilitator should never fail to create. The objectives are identified in an agenda. The discussion topics are indicated in that outline. These are essential elements every participant must not miss to check before attending the meeting. Plan the agenda carefully and properly as part of effective meeting planning.
Meeting Planner Checklist
A responsible and conscientious facilitator always comes prepared with a meeting planner checklist of every meeting detail in order to check if everything is set for the meeting proper. A meeting checklist must have a complete list of the meeting requirements, an option to indicate that a particular requirement is done or completed (which can simply be ticked with a check mark), and specific remarks or comments.
The following meeting details are: agenda, sequence, timings, attendees, date, time, venue, notification, minutes from last meeting, directions (if applicable), audiovisual materials (if necessary), equipment, refreshments, writing materials, results and performance data. The equipment may have a separate checklist or the list may be indicated below it.
Although this kind of meeting checklist is apt for large meetings, even small group sessions will benefit from the checklist. The meeting planner checklist acts as a to-do list for the facilitator.
Planning and preparation can break or make a meeting. Poor planning results in an ineffective meeting. But with proper planning, a meeting can bring about positive results and help achieve certain goals for the group or the organization.