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:
- Decide exactly who should attend the meeting.
- Schedule a time for the meeting with the persons attending, making it clear what the meeting is about and how long it will take.
- Schedule a place for the meeting that is conducive to discussion and does not allow interruptions.
- Plan an agenda with a time schedule for addressing each issue.
- Distribute the agenda well in advance of the meeting, asking for any modifications or additions.
- Once the meeting starts there should be one person in charge who manages the meeting and facilitates discussion.
- The meeting leader should stimulate and clarify communication, summarizing points made.
- Consensus should be encouraged, but don't make that the endpoint.
- If more information is needed for making decisions, schedule another meeting with homework assignments.
- At the end of the meeting clarify what has transpired and what the next steps are.
- Distribute a summary of decisions reached at the meeting, including the date and time of any future meetings.
- It is important to include all critical parties for a meeting, but any number greater than eight reduces the meeting's effectiveness.
- The person running the meeting should be a facilitator who is there to listen, not an active participant.
- Meetings do not need to be held for lengthy reporting. Reports can be written and circulated for comments.