We can not think of a company which doesn’t hold business meetings. When there is more than one people working in a company, it becomes a necessity to hold business meetings, regularly or not, in order to achieve the desired progress. Therefore business meetings are a fundamental part of the business life. Business meetings come in ‘all shapes and sizes’, they can be held for solving problems, developing ideas, making decisions, encouraging the team members or it can be a daily scrum meeting within the developers of a scrum team.
In other words the business meetings are essential in the working life to have a good communication between the team, to be able to understand what other departments are doing or to have a productive brainstorming. But even if the purpose of the business meetings are generally well planned, when they are not conducted effectively, the results that you are going to get won’t be the desired ones (or no results at all). So there is a risk to have the impression of ‘waste of time’ in the attendees’ eyes.
5 Essential Tips for an Effective Business Meeting
Unfortunately, in many companies the business meetings are poorly-run, because they are mistaken for ‘the act of gathering the people and speaking’. To be able to hold an effective and productive business meeting, there are some must-to-do things before, during and after.
We gathered some important tips to gain a ‘best practice’ for holding effective business meetings. These tips will help you to organize effective business meeting starting from your next meeting!
Would you like to attend a business meeting when the objective and the content is vague? The first rule to hold a successful business meeting is to clearly set the main purpose and decide the discussion topics. While sending the invitation to your attendees, you should ask yourself why you are holding this business meeting and what outcomes you are planning to get from the business meeting. If you can’t answer to this question, maybe there is no need to hold a business meeting in the first place.
Ideally the invitations should be sent at least a week before the business meeting date. It should include the agenda and if necessary, the materials that need to be reviewed by every attendee before the business meeting.
By this way, the purpose is set and the preliminary information is given, that means the base of an effective business meeting has just been formed.
After setting your business meeting’s purpose, you should now consider which people should be present in the meeting. If you are a project manager, trying to solve a certain issue in a certain project, naturally you should invite all the stakeholders related with the issue. Also, make sure that, if it’s not you, the person who will give the final decisions about the issues must be present in the business meeting. Otherwise a business meeting without a concrete decision will unfortunately be only a waste of everybody’s valuable time.
3-Be punctual: Appear on time in the Business Meeting
It can sound obvious to say that a meeting should start at the announced time, but it’s a simple and mandatory rule for holding a business meeting. A second but also equally important rule is to finish the business meeting on time. Both of these rules will show that you are respecting the time of the attendees, and it is going to keep them focused on the topic of the business meeting. Also, a business meeting shouldn’t last more than sixty minutes. Remember a usual working day is only eight hours, so try to organize your business meeting accordingly, try not to wander off the main subject. That will keep the attendees’ engagement in a higher level relatively. Another good tip for this: the business meeting shouldn’t be scheduled in an unproductive hour; for instance at the end of a work day, when everybody may be more distracted than the morning hours.
4-Stay on the topic during the Business Meeting
During the business meeting, nobody should wander off the main subject. Because this can cause the business meeting to take longer than expected and also the focusing level of the attendees may decrease. If you have prepared a clear agenda beforehand, it is going to be easier to stay on that specific topic. Do not let the good ideas that are out of the context disappear neither. There is a method called ‘parking lot’ which is ‘parking’ (in the meaning of ‘writing down’) the good ideas to focus on them later on. For keeping the engagement level high, you should also make sure that no attendee is taking too much time of the others, by talking longer than required. As the owner of the business meeting, you can politely tell him/her that you need the comments of the others as well.
A business meeting is really effective only if you do the follow up. Begin with thinking what was the goal of that business meeting. Then, what was talked during the business meeting and finally what was the conclusion of the business meeting. Send a follow up email or meeting minutes within the first 24 hours all the attendees. It can include a reminder of the topics which were discussed, the decisions which were taken and the actions which were assigned to stakeholders; in other words the next steps to take. To send a well organized follow up, you should consider to take short notes during the business meeting. This will help you to gather highlights of the business meeting afterwards and to state the important points without missing any of them.
In brief, holding an effective business meeting requires a good planning. Scheduling, setting the agenda, deciding who you are going to invite and leading the business meeting smoothly are the key points for planning a successful business meeting. Certainly, you need expertise for implementing these rules, but after beginning to use them, you will gain more and more experience.
Afterwards, you will notice that a well-run business meeting is boosting the productivity of the team and your company will see a remarkable progress.
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