If you’re like most business people, they are all reaching towards one business goal. That goal is often how to make their business better. An easy and helpful resource to utilise is getting your team together and conducting a meeting. Whether it be for brainstorming, to share new ideas or putting ideas in action, a business meeting is crucial to get everyone on the same page and help everyone feel included. However, a business meeting is only successful if done well by operating smoothly and getting things done. If you don’t know how to do that or even where to start, this post will show some steps on how to conduct a successful meeting.
The steps that have been found most effective and successful are….
Always be prepared
Create a meeting agenda
Create the right atmosphere
Be respectful of people's time
Include everyone in the conversation
End on a positive note
Now let’s break these down a little…
Step 1 - Always be Prepared
When walking into your business meeting you must have an idea of what you want it to look like and how you want it to go. By walking into a meeting with no notes, no talking points and no end goal you are setting yourself up for chaos and dysfunction. By gathering all of your notes and clearly defining the purpose of the meeting it will be more organised and easier to lead. You cannot lead a meeting with no purpose; you must have a clear and established idea for why you are there and have notes and resources prepared as back up throughout the meeting.
Step 2 - Create a Meeting Agenda
An agenda will bring stability and focus to your business meeting. Agendas help create a timeline for the meeting and so that the end goal will be reached easier and in good time. Without an agenda it will be easy to get caught up in talking about one thing for the majority of the business meeting and never reaching any of the other points you may have prepared. It is also a helpful resource to give to participants so they know what you will be covering and help them to prepare for the meeting making it all the more effective. The meeting agenda can be viewed as the structure for the meeting. The idea is the foundation but you need the structure of an agenda to get that foundational idea out to the participants.
Step 3 - Create the Right Atmosphere
The atmosphere of the room sets the tone for the entire meeting. If the room you are in is too small or uninviting, the participants are not going to feel comfortable in the meeting. If the room you are in is warm and welcoming, the participants will feel like they will be heard and will be more relaxed. If you want to have a meeting where input is welcome and all voices are heard the best way for that to be presented is by holding it in a room that provides an atmosphere of pleasantness and open mindedness. The key for a successful business meeting is conducting it in a place that is not rigid and stiff but open and flexible.
Step 4 - Be Respectful of People's Time
To have a business meeting that keeps people's attention you want to stick to a time table and be respectful of others' time tables. For example, running a five hour meeting with no breaks and no end in sight is going to cause a lack of interest and a loss of focus amongst participants. Follow your agenda to help keep the meeting on time. Start the meeting at a set time and end the meeting at a set time even if not all the points were made. You can always have another meeting. It is better to have another meeting rather than run long on a meeting and disrespect and disregard the lives of the other participants. In long meetings, breaks are recommended as they will help keep the participants interested. Having a quick bathroom break or a time to stretch your legs will help the members of the meeting detach for a few moments and then regain new focus once the break is over. If the members of the team are not focused and tuned in to the purpose of the meeting it will be unfruitful and a poor use of time.
Step 5 - Include Everyone in the Conversation
Make sure all voices, ideas, and opinions are heard in the business meeting. Meetings can be a good way to help everyone share their thoughts and be included in the success of the company. By hearing others' ideas and opinions it can also bring a new perspective to you as the leader. Everyone in the room brings their own talent, ideas and way of thinking and it's your job as the leader to allow everyone to express those things. A successful business meeting is one where everyone walks away feeling acknowledged and appreciated.
Step 6 - End on a Positive Note
Never end a meeting with people feeling like nothing was achieved. By concluding the meeting with a recap of all the good things that came out of the meeting it will help you and the participants feel a sense of accomplishment. Even if the meeting did not go as planned it is important that it is ended with positive words and body language. If it does not end positively, then during the next meeting you may have people walking in with no hope that anything will get done, no fresh ideas or any drive to meet the end result. Always end with a hope for the future and add encouraging words to motivate the participants into doing what you want them to do.
To wrap it all up, a successful meeting is easy to hold if you work for it. The meeting is bound to be beneficial if you apply these steps and focus on your main goal. Now get out there and run that meeting!
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