Did you know that an average of 11 million meetings are held in American businesses every single day? But with so many meetings on the calendar, it’s easy for some meetings to be ineffective. If your meeting isn’t effective, what’s the point of holding it at all? Instead, by following a few simple tips, planning a corporate meeting that is effective and productive is completely possible.
Planning a Corporate Meeting? Create an Agenda in Advance
If your meeting has vague intentions, it will produce vague results. We’ve all been part of meetings that were unorganized, where it feels like nothing productive is happening.
When planning a corporate meeting, spend some time making an agenda beforehand. Outline the topics you want to cover and decide which order in which you want to talk about them.
Also, be sure to distribute this to your meeting attendees a day or two before you meet. If you have a recurring meeting, make this process simpler by making a meeting template. Then all you need to do is fill in the blanks moving forward.
Whether you want a really detailed agenda with every talking point or more of a rough outline, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you have a guide to keep your meeting on track and you make this part of your planning process.
Start off Strong
First impressions matter. Whether we’re talking about getting to know someone for the first time or starting off a meeting, this principle is true.
Here are some tips for starting your meeting off on the right foot:
- Use some small talk or icebreakers to get people warmed up and comfortable
- Exude a positive attitude and enthusiasm to get attendees engaged
- Don’t jump into serious topics right away; start with something optimistic
If you do these things, you’ll get people excited and they’ll be more willing to participate. When lots of team members participate, you’ll be able to develop better ideas than if you just come up with things on your own.
Speaking of participation, this is a key part of an effective meeting. Keep in mind that people are unique. Everyone has a unique perspective and experience.
Uniqueness is incredibly valuable in a corporate setting because it can help you solve problems. When people come together, they’ll see things in a different light and come up with different ways to fix issues.
But if you run your corporate meeting without encouraging participation, you won’t get any of this value.
Avoid this by asking questions. Don’t dominate the meeting with a lecture but instead make it a back and forth discussion.
This way, team members will feel excited about sharing their ideas, which will improve your end results.
Control Your Emotions
Because your team consists of a wide range of personalities, this also means there’s potential for strong emotions to come up during meetings.
When you’re discussing important items, big issues, or brainstorming ideas, it’s common for these discussions to get emotional. But never let this get out of control. The last thing you want is to become angry, rude, or passive-aggressive.
This is especially important if you’re leading the meeting because your example will have a big impact. If you share rude comments or hurtful ideas, people will follow your example. And this is the last thing you want in your organization.
Start and End on Time
Another crucial tip for planning a corporate meeting? Stick to the schedule.
Have you ever attended a meeting that started 10 minutes late and then ran 15 minutes over for no good reason? It’s incredibly frustrating because it tends to affect other work responsibilities.
Show respect to your meeting attendees by starting and ending on time. When you do this, you’re showing that you value their time and that you are a great team player.
As a leader in your organization, you can set the example for the rest of your coworkers by beginning meetings right on time and by finishing on time–or even early.
What do you do, though, if your meeting is going really well, but you only have 2 minutes left and 3 other agenda items to discuss? This is when it’s time to schedule a follow-up meeting or continue the conversation over email.
Consider Bringing in a Speaker
This is great for large, company-wide corporate meetings where big announcements are made. Bringing in a speaker that is outside of your organization is a great way to light a fire under your employees and get them motivated for upcoming changes. Professional speakers know how to create engaging business-centric talks and presentations that can be a great break from meeting monotony.
Finish With an Action Plan
In every single meeting, leave the last few minutes open to discuss the next steps. If you don’t end a meeting by talking about an action plan, is your meeting really going to move your business forward? Probably not.
And if this is happening, your meeting is part of the $37 billion wasted on unproductive meetings every year.
To avoid this, think about this phrase when talking about the next steps with your team: “Who will do what by when?”
When you’ve come up with your upcoming tasks, make clear assignments and write them down. Then after the meeting, send these notes to all of the attendees so everyone has a written record of their responsibilities. Also, talk about due dates so timeline expectations are aligned as well.
This way, you’ll be able to make a real impact in an organized way.
Corporate Meeting Closing Thoughts
Work on an agenda, think about the example you want to set and come up with a way to make sure you start and end on time.
There you have it. Consider these utilizing these tips when planning a corporate meeting to ensure success. Now, it’s time for you to put them into practice. Take an upcoming meeting and start creating a plan.
Want help planning your next big, company-wide corporate meeting? Talk to the event planners at MTI Events today. Not only is our team able to structure productive meetings, but we also can make them fun for employees on a large scale.