Meetings – The First Steps to Successful Meetings
Meetings – The First Steps to Successful Meetings
“I’ve been to three meetings so far today and still don’t know why I’ve been invited to attend them.” or ” I didn’t manage to get any work done or have a break because the meeting lasted all day.” Does this sound familiar to you? We’ve probably all been there. I often ask my students to tell me about their best and worst experiences concerning meetings. You’d be surprised of the stories I could tell you. For this reason, Yvette and I have decided to start a new series about meetings and this is the first part covering which steps you need to follow to have successful meetings. We’ve come up with five points you need to look into when organising meetings.
Starting from Scratch
Let’s assume you organise meetings. They can be online or offline meetings, which kind doesn’t make any difference. The questions to help you achieve successful meetings are usable for both possibilities.
There are many reasons for having meetings, e.g. your meetings could include a presentation for a product, the can be held for pitching an idea or brainstorming. Of course there are project meetings, creative meetings, kick-off meetings, problem solving meetings and meetings for giving project updates / status.
Topics & Agenda
Usually you start off with the topics, which are then put together into an agenda. The topic will influence who needs to participate. Only invite people who can contribute and add value to your meetings. It’s important to keep the people’s language levels in mind, as this can influence how successful and effective your meetings are.
The items on the agenda need to be specific enough, so that the people you are inviting will know what the meetings are about and which outcomes the meetings will have.
Who do you invite and why are they the right people? As already mentioned, it’s essential to invite the right people, who are involved in your project or who can contribute to your topic and help you reach your next step. For example you need a decision on a project, then make sure to invite the person who can make that decision. Once again consider the different language levels each person could have. Be prepared to rephrase complex content into shorter and easier sentences. In meetings many people contribute to the topics on the agenda, so think about who will add value and why this person can do this. In case you’re not the chair or facilitator, make sure to choose someone who can handle the task and help make your meetings successful.
We were assuming you’re the person organising the meeting. Here is a list of what needs to be organised:
- the meeting room can be at your company or at a hotel, depending on the meeting
- which equipment should be available, don’t forget to ask the participants, which equipment they need
- sending out invitations
- include a detailed agenda
- accommodation, possibly some participants are from out-of-town and need hotel rooms
- transport, for getting to the venue
- refreshments at the meeting, depending on the length
- who will be taking the minutes and will this be his or her only task?
So, when is the best time for a meeting? I’ve heard different views on this point and honestly it really depends on the type of meeting.
However, please consider these thoughts, not …
- just before lunch
- immediately after lunch
- too late in the afternoon
- on Mondays or Fridays
How long can / should a meeting last? There are meetings which last all day, however, they have breaks, which are necessary to reach an outcome at the end of the day.
Keep these thoughts in mind and your good to go:
- a good meeting gives enough time for each point on the agenda and doesn’t take up your whole day
- if your attendees start looking at their watches, checking their messages or start yawning, then the meeting is too long
Choosing the right venue is crucial to make the participants feel comfortable and at ease. The room size depends on the number of people taking part. I remember feeling lost in a huge room, which could accommodate 80 people easily, however we were only three. Booking a room which is too small is just as bad. If it’s not a stand-up meeting then please make sure there are enough seats available. Have you thought about the seating arrangements? Will the participants be sitting around a table or is it a bigger meeting and you need a different arrangement. Let’s say your attendees will be sitting around a table, then think about next to whom each could be sitting. Will your participants need equipment and are there possibilities to hook it up? If it is a virtual meeting, make sure the connection is stable and everything is working accordingly. Do all participants have the same software? Do the links you’ve sent them in the invitation to the virtual meeting room work?
So, there you have it!
These are the five points you have to look into when organising meetings. Remember I ask people about their worst and best experiences concerning meetings? Well, I’m curious, please tell me your worst and best experiences. Drop me a line or just schedule a call with me click here to schedule a call and tell me all about it. Are you interested in other business English skills? Then check out the post about listening here and about using your voice effectively here.
One more thing
We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading our podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.
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These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. We’ve been told to prolong the raffle. You can participate till April 12. 2019. We will make the draw on 3 May 2019. Good luck!