How to Run the Perfect Business Meeting
If you own a business, you’ll likely find yourself leading team meetings on a regular, and perhaps frequent basis. Meetings are when exciting plans are discovered, brilliant business ideas are developed and all levels of operations are polished. Whether your business is small or big, business meetings are an essential part of reaching your company’s goals and objectives. Because everyone’s time is valuable, it’s important to make sure your meetings are organized and productive. Nobody wants to be stuck in a bad meeting that starts late, has no agenda, and not everyone has an opportunity to contribute. Here are some helpful ideas for how to run the perfect business meeting.
Create a meeting structure
First things first, you need to establish a solid foundation for all your business meetings. All productive meetings need a certain level of structure. Here’s how to outline the structure of your meetings.
Business meetings can have one or several objectives, such as to regroup on an ongoing project, review everyone’s overall performance, discover a new marketing plan or share a change in policy. For a truly productive meeting, make sure you and all the participants of the meeting are fully aware of the meeting’s objectives before it starts.
Make an agenda
As the meeting leader, you’re responsible for keeping it moving and being productive. Being prepared and organized ahead of time will set you up for success. You can help guide the direction of the meeting before it even starts by creating and sharing an outline of your meeting including specific discussion points. Be sure to include your objectives in the agenda you share before the meeting. You can also mention if there’s any advanced research or prep that may be necessary. This way, everyone knows what to expect and can come to the meeting prepared.
Ideally, you’ll want everyone on the invite list to join the meeting in-person. Sometimes, though, this can prove to be a challenge. With some employees working remotely, traveling and others out of the office for personal reasons, it can be challenging to find a date and time that works well for every member of the team. Try to find a balance between accommodating everyone’s schedules and being firm with the time and place you choose. Try to get your meeting on the calendar as early as possible so employees can make any necessary arrangements to be present. Be sure to start and end each meeting on time. It’s important to be respectful of everyone’s time.
Wrap up with a call to action
Bring each meeting to a close with a clear call to action so participants know what’s expected of them following the meeting. Share exact guidelines for your instructions and establish a deadline for completing the assigned task. If you’ve designated a note-taker for the meeting, ask them to send you the minutes as soon as possible once the meeting is over. Organize and share this information with the meeting participants so they can review it. You may want to add your own thoughts and a short recap of important points discussed at the meeting, as well as a reminder about any assigned tasks.
How to take your meeting to the next level
Once you have a basic meeting structure in place, you’ll want to make sure your meeting is as productive as possible. This means finding ways to engage employees in participating, discussing and collaborating. Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of your meeting.
Start with a bang
Set the right tone for your meeting with a powerful start. Share a shocking stat related to your industry, drop a quick one-liner to get everyone laughing or start with a quiz or brainteasers related to your meeting topic. With all eyes on you, you’ll be ready to get to the meeting’s real agenda.
Create a safe space for successful collaboration
If your meeting involves brainstorming and communicating new ideas, you’ll need to ensure everyone feels safe enough to share. Establish guidelines for participation, such as allowing everyone to have a turn to talk without interruption, letting employees submit suggestions anonymously before the meeting or pairing up employees to brainstorm together before sharing with the full group.
Step outside of PowerPoint
Most meetings include a PowerPoint presentation of some kind. PowerPoint is a useful way to present information, but it can also get a little boring and predictable. It’s ok to provide a PowerPoint presentation to show key points and information, but make sure you’re taking moments to interact with those in the meeting. Stop to ask for input and questions. For some meetings, maybe you ditch the PowerPoint completely. Instead, jot down brainstorming ideas on a dry erase board. Have people in the meeting get up and add to the list of ideas.
Meet in different locations
Typically, business meetings are held in the same conference room again and again. This can get boring and people can start to dread going to the same place every time there’s a meeting. Keep it fresh by having meetings in new locations. If it’s a small group, you could meet at a coffee shop. Or if the weather is nice, maybe you host your meeting outside, picnic style. Different locations may not be appropriate for every kind of meeting. You want to make sure your surroundings aren’t too distracting because you still want to focus and get participation from the group.
Keep it short
Nobody wants to be stuck in a meeting for a long period of time. Sometimes meetings are more productive when they’re kept short and you get straight to the point. Try keeping your meeting time around 30 to 40 minutes, so people don’t lose interest and are more likely to engage.
Everyone likes free food and drinks. Especially during longer meetings, be sure to provide snacks and drinks and take any necessary breaks. This creates a more relaxed atmosphere where people are more likely to open up and share their ideas.
Using the ideas outlined here will help you run a business meeting like a pro. If you’re looking for a way to fund your company’s growth, look no further than Partner Colorado! Our business loans offer generous terms and competitive rates.