The corporate world has changed a lot since the advent of personal computing. However, one thing has remained constant throughout this upheaval—the need for business meetings. Whether those meetings take place remotely or within a dedicated office space, they remain an integral part of planning policy and developing strategies.
But in today’s fast-paced business world, meetings need to adapt in order to be successful and effective in a shorter span of time: After all, no company wants to dedicate resources to multiple-hour-long meetings where the attendees accomplish little to nothing. Businesses that are concerned with having an efficient meeting schedule should consider these suggestions from 11 Forbes Business Council members as to which components are crucial and necessary to planning or running a successful meeting. Here is what they advise you have:
1. Clear Objectives And Agenda
Always set a primary (if there is one thing you need from the meeting) and secondary objective, and ensure you set your agenda to help address those key objectives. It’s critical in ensuring that you get value out of the meeting and that others who are attending have an opportunity to add to the agenda and highlight anything missing. Meeting prep is hugely undervalued and is key to success. – Adam Harvey, Proofed
2. Set Expectations
Good meetings are all about homework. Setting up expectations before the meeting is very important. It helps both sides focus and prepare. If there is a misalignment, the meetings end up with almost no result or unnecessary delays, or with the completely wrong people in the room. – Mayur Saxena, Droice Labs
Meetings can occur in many formats, from well-curated to open discussions. In order to make any meeting successful, you have to make sure it is structured: The agenda is set, goals are identified, and a strict time limit instituted. That allows people to set the tone, increase focus, and promote productive discussions and outcomes. – Nionila Ivanova, IT Creative Labs
4. Actionable Next Steps
Table stakes for any meeting is an agenda; however, having clearly defined the next steps with assigned owners is necessary for success. Close every meeting by having every participant repeat their next steps and when they’ll be completed. – Matt Friesen, Social Studies
5. Review What, Who And When
In our organization, every leadership meeting ends with a review of a W.W.W. list captured during the discussion. It stands for “What needs to be done,” “Who is accountable for doing it,” and “When it will be done by.” This simple tactic has transformed our meetings into meaningful vehicles for solving issues and implementing change. – Tom Conlon, North Street
Consistency is a key component of holding successful meetings. It’s important to hold meetings at the same time, keep them short—ideally a half-hour—and focused. Having guidelines in place helps ensure that meetings are valuable for everyone. If someone’s attendance is required, they should know what they are meant to contribute and be given the opportunity to participate. – Jeanne Hardy, Creative Business Inc.
7. Concise, Informative Pitch
A fundamental for a successful meeting is a clear, concise, and informative pitch. Although they may seem cliche, elevator pitches are essential to any meeting, whether it be with an investor, collaborator, or customer. Your audience should leave the meeting with a clear and confident understanding of what your goals were—if not, excessive explanations and questions can eat up prime time. – Alex Pollak, ParaDocs Worldwide Inc.
8. Action-Oriented Outcomes
We have all experienced long-drawn-out meetings that produce no tangible progress. Make every meeting action- and outcome-oriented. To help facilitate, start each meeting with specific outcomes that you want to achieve and time-bound the meeting to 15 or 30 minutes to achieve maximum efficiency. Get to the heart of the matter. – Scott Amyx, Amyx Ventures
9. Everyone On The Same Page
I think it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page. You can easily accomplish this by sending everyone an agenda of things you want to cover in the conference, then move through topics swiftly and diligently. Time is wasted, and people can easily veer off topic if you don’t properly communicate what needs to be discussed and prioritize items in order of importance. – Hoda Mahmoodzadegan, BAḴT Global
10. Detailed Notes
We always have someone designated as a note-taker that ensures any deliverables assigned during the meeting are accounted for and communicated via email after the meeting is over. This maintains accountability for any missed deadlines down the line as everything is in writing. Having notes is also a great way for a manager to ensure the work is being split among the team evenly! – Maurice Harary, The Bid Lab
11. Time For The ‘Small Stuff’
It’s nice to have an agenda for business meetings. However, I believe it’s important to add the human element by mixing personal and/or random topics into the discussion—even for one or two minutes. It’s amazing how great opportunities can come from the most unexpected situations. – Dean Scaduto, Dino’s Digital Marketing & Advisory Firm
Expert Panel, Forbes Business Council, Forbes.com
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