6 Tips to Conduct Highly Effective Business Meetings

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We’ve all been through those business meetings where we sat fiddling with our mobile phones or drifting off in our minds to wonder about last night’s dinner date with that special someone. And do you remember how we thought to ourselves, ‘what on earth are we even doing here?’

Such meetings, without a doubt, are unproductive and are a complete waste of time. Business meetings, whether with your staff, business partners, shareholders or vendors, are an essential part of the growth of a business or a brand, for they allow for clearer communication and effective decision making.

Here are some must-know tips to conduct effective business meetings that are helping organisations across the world to be more productive with their time.

Set a clear goal

Lack of a clear goal for your business meetings would set you and your team off on a wild-goose chase. Your goal should be based on a specific purpose that could be attained during the course of the meeting.

For an example, if the goal of the meeting is to brainstorm ideas for a new project, you could ask the attendees to come with a list of ideas they created earlier; this way you would be able to start discussing the ideas right away without wasting time. Thus, setting a specific goal would help you prepare more effectively for the meeting.

Use visuals for easier communication

During the meeting, it is necessary to jot down or record the ideas and points made by the team. One of the most effective ways to do this is with the help of diagrams such as mind maps, which allow you to graphically record the ideas and concepts you and your team may come up with during the meeting. They also allow you to create fishbone diagrams which may help identify causes for a problem and allow you to come up with suitable solutions.

A few other examples of diagrams you can use are flowcharts, Gantt charts, SWOT analyses, etc. There are numerous benefits of visual communication, so it’s definitely something that you should consider including in your meetings.

Pay attention to who you are inviting to the meeting

Sometimes you don’t have to invite everyone in the office to the meeting unless the meeting is an announcement that affects everyone. Therefore, you need to consider who should be invited and who should be not.

For an example, if the meeting is regarding product development, invite those who are in the product development team. Likewise, if the meeting is about raising brand awareness for your product or service, invite the marketing team of your company. Having people who could be useful for you to achieve the objectives of the business meeting will save you plenty of time and hours of frustration!

Create a meeting agenda

You might think a meeting agenda is not really necessary as long as the objectives of the business meeting are met; but if you run the meeting according to a well-organized agenda, you’d find out that you can save a lot of time when accomplishing the objectives.

Mind map template for a meeting agenda

Mind map template suitable for a meeting ( Source: Creately )

When creating an agenda, you need to be careful to prioritise the most important topics and give an estimated time for each topic. Creating an agenda for the business meeting would help you prevent the meeting from dragging on for hours and maintain the meeting’s flow properly.

Select a suitable meeting leader

The meeting leader should obviously be familiar with the meeting principals, the agenda and should be capable of facilitating the agenda of the meeting. The meeting leader should be able to keep the discussion focused on the relevant topics and make sure that every attendee gets the chance to express their opinions.

If the leader is ineffective, it can cause the meeting to fail in reaching its objectives; therefore, it is necessary to appoint a skilled person capable of handling the responsibilities.

Maintain meeting norms

In order to make sure that the business meeting is completely successful, the meeting norms should be followed;

  • All electronic devices such as smart phones, pagers etc. should be silenced or turned off (unless you are taking notes using your tablet or mobile phone).
  • Make sure that while everyone is allowed to voice their opinions, that all their opinions are respected.
  • Encourage the participation and the openness of the attendees.
  • Allow participants to question points and ask questions from them for clarity as well.

Sticking with such meeting norms is necessary to make sure that the business meeting you are conducting is actually productive.

Business meetings in an organisation are an effective communication tool and an essential management tool. While a poorly planned meeting would waste time and resources, planning a meeting according to the tips we discussed above will help you achieve your objectives most efficiently.

In order to improve your business meetings, you should allow the participants to give their feedback regarding the meetings they have attended so far; this way you will know which aspects of your business meetings should be changed and improved.