Meetings are a part of managing a project and running a business, and depending on the topic and how long they take a meeting can be pleasant or draining. The first thing to remember when planning a meeting is to try and make the meeting as much fun as possible. A meeting that takes place in a nice venue, with drinks at the ready, as well as a PowerPoint to give a visual for all the points of discussion, will naturally be more fun than simply meeting in a boardroom. The more engaged your colleagues are with the discussion, the more you will be able to get done.
Preparation is key to ensuring that your business meetings are efficient. The more prep you do to collect the materials needed and set up the meeting, the faster it will go. But this will inevitably dig into your time that you could spend on other subjects – so how do you prep for a meeting in as little time as possible?
Here is a six-step plan to help you plan an efficient business meeting as quickly as possible.
Six Step Plan
This plan will help you to tick all the boxes on your checklist before the day of the meeting. In order to ensure that a meeting is an efficient use of your time it is always best to have everything you need done at least by the day before the meeting, so you will not end up on a time crunch.
- Do you need to have a meeting?
First, think about the topics you will be discussing; if it is a topic or plan that can be easily hammered out over email or through a phone call, then the meeting may not be needed. Often you will have to travel to the meeting venue, which can waste time if the meeting is unnecessary.
- What are the topics that need to be discussed?
Consider which topics you will be talking about over the meeting, as well as any problems that need to be solved. Once you have thought about the main discussion points for the meeting then create a list of topics to send out to the people who will be attending. Make sure that you list them in order of importance – you don’t want to spend most of your time talking over a part of the project which doesn’t need to be solved immediately while leaving too little time for the larger topics that need to be considered.
- What does everyone need to know before the meeting?
Organising a meeting in order to consolidate a plan can be quickly derailed if you need to spend most of the meeting explaining details to the other people in attendance. Setting out the pertinent points and what everyone needs to understand, and emailing that to all who will be in attendance, can help you ensure the meeting stays effective, on topic and, best of all, brief. Making sure that everyone in attendance has a good working knowledge of the points you will be discussing will help the meeting stay focussed and on track.
- What is the timeframe of the meeting?
Before the meeting starts consider how long you should spend debating each point. Is it a topic that will take half an hour to resolve effectively or is it something that will take ten minutes to talk over? Prioritising your time this way will help you ensure that each of the topics on the agenda is given the attention needed before moving on to other points which need to be ironed out.
- Who needs to attend the meeting?
While meetings are an often-necessary part of working with other people, sometimes you should consider if there is something more constructive a team member could be doing. Cutting down the meeting attendance to only those who need to be there can keep the meeting streamlined and ensure that more is accomplished. The more people in a meeting the more complicated it becomes, and having fewer people in attendance can often help to ensure that the meeting is a constructive one, rather than a social gathering.
- Keep others up to date.
Make sure that each person who will be attending the meeting has been apprised of all the changes that have occurred in the project or projects they want to discuss. Each member must receive an email with the time and location of the meeting, as well as any other pertinent details. Sending out a summary of what was discussed, agreed upon and what still needs to be confirmed can help with any follow up questions people may have.
Find a Venue
As well as organising the meeting itself, it is crucial to have your venue booked ahead of time so that you can arrange the function room to your satisfaction. When booking a venue for a business meeting it is important to consider the room it will take place in, the preference being for as few distractions as possible. Having a screen set up for a PowerPoint presentation can be helpful, but often if each member already has a good understanding of the topic, it can be unnecessary.
The venue should be able to provide your meeting with food and drinks such as coffee throughout the event. Planning ahead and having those attending the meeting look at the menu and pre-book their food some time before can help the proceedings to run smoothly and help everyone stay on topic.
Here at One Warwick Park Hotel we offer function rooms for corporate events including meetings and parties. If you are interested in learning more about what our hotel has to offer, then please contact us here. Our staff will be delighted to discuss what we can do to ensure that your event is a success.