A couple years ago, a research firm reported professionals lose 31 hours per month to unproductive meetings. That's four work days each month.
How do you rate when it comes to business meetings? Do your employees or clients look like they’re daydreaming or do you see them checking their phones and watches?
Whether you’re having a meeting with employees or with clients, to make sure you get the results you’re looking for in your business meetings, here is a simple checklist to follow:
Let everyone know the date, place and time, with plenty of advance notice. Make sure you set an end time so attendees can plan the rest of their day. Starting at the beginning or end of the work day is always preferable to smack in the middle of the day, unless you are scheduling a working lunch. Start and end on time and always ask the attendees if they would like another follow-up meeting. If you can schedule the next meeting before adjourning, that eliminates a round of emails.
Create an agenda
The first step in creating an effective agenda is to determine the goal or goals of the meeting. What do you hope to accomplish? Does a decision need to be made, are you closing a deal, are you looking for a commitment from a client or ideas on a new project? Put the goal at the top of the agenda so everyone knows what will be discussed and what they are working towards. Send the agenda out to attendees early enough that you can ask for feedback or changes. Include any documents or visuals you expect people to bring. Specify about how much time each discussion item should take so you don’t go over the allotted time.
Choose a meeting room with plenty of space, good ventilation, comfortable chairs, free Wi-Fi and state-of-the-art equipment available if needed. Good lighting is crucial; natural sunlight is best for keeping people energetic. Minimize distractions by keeping the space clutter- and noise-free. If you have the meeting in an executive office building, you also have the convenience of a quality support staff to help make sure your meeting is successful.
Stock your meeting
According to communication experts ECG, the food and drinks you serve at your meeting can make the difference between focused, appreciative, and alert participants and irritable, hungry, and drowsy ones. They suggest these food rules of thumb:
- Ease of consumption: Avoid messy and difficult-to-eat foods.
- Audience: Be sensitive to your guests and their special needs.
- Timing: When you serve will dictate what you serve.
- Selection: Make sure you offer your guests a variety of menu options.
Sometimes, last-minute meetings can’t be helped and you’ll find yourself not as well-prepared as you should be. The point is to stick to your checklist as much as possible so you accomplish your goals and don’t waste your attendees’ valuable time.
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