How to Organize Meetings

Meetings can be the most dreaded part of business, yet they are essential to good communication. Make them a positive part of your business operation by organizing them well.

To organize a meeting:

  1. Decide exactly who should attend the meeting.
  2. Schedule a time for the meeting with the persons attending, making it clear what the meeting is about and how long it will take.
  3. Schedule a place for the meeting that is conducive to discussion and does not allow interruptions.
  4. Plan an agenda with a time schedule for addressing each issue.
  5. Distribute the agenda well in advance of the meeting, asking for any modifications or additions.
  6. Once the meeting starts there should be one person in charge who manages the meeting and facilitates discussion.
  7. The meeting leader should stimulate and clarify communication, summarizing points made.
  8. Consensus should be encouraged, but don't make that the endpoint.
  9. If more information is needed for making decisions, schedule another meeting with homework assignments.
  10. At the end of the meeting clarify what has transpired and what the next steps are.
  11. Distribute a summary of decisions reached at the meeting, including the date and time of any future meetings.

Tips:

  1. It is important to include all critical parties for a meeting, but any number greater than eight reduces the meeting's effectiveness.
  2. The person running the meeting should be a facilitator who is there to listen, not an active participant.
  3. Meetings do not need to be held for lengthy reporting. Reports can be written and circulated for comments.