How to Plan a Business Meeting
Planning a business meeting can be a thankless job. How you plan a business meeting goes unnoticed unless something at the business meeting goes wrong — and that kind of recognition is never good. Plan your next business meeting to run smoothly:
Determine the meeting’s purpose.
Know why you’re holding the meeting and what you hope to accomplish. A clear purpose is essential for a successful meeting. Ask yourself these questions: “What goal (or goals) do we hope to accomplish? How will a meeting help accomplish this goal?”
Make sure a meeting can fulfill your purpose.
A meeting can be a good way to disseminate information to several people, perhaps from different businesses, at the same time. A meeting allows for eye contact, body language, and opportunities to ask questions so as to clarify the information. On the other hand, a meeting may not be a good idea if the information is unlikely to generate discussion.
Draw up an agenda.
Outline what the meeting will cover. An agenda helps participants prepare for the meeting, which minimizes choruses of the always-popular, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” A complete agenda includes a list of topics to be covered, assignments of who should be prepared to cover each topic, time estimates for discussion of each topic, and start and end times.
Schedule the meeting.
Scheduling a meeting can be tough, and it gets more complicated with every added participant. In some cases, you have to schedule a time that’s convenient for the most important players and ask the other participants to rearrange their schedules.