Every day, millions of work meetings are conducted in organizations across the world. Business meetings are a crucial aspect since they help you look at your organization’s processes and implementations to achieve its objectives. It also helps the team stay updated and discuss ideas and solutions to solve problems, strengthening team building.
Whether the business is small or large, a meeting will always be the primary key to regrouping and keeping the focus on important goals and issues. However, many studies show that business meetings have lost their effectiveness in recent years, mainly due to how they are conducted.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the duration and frequency of meetings have increased significantly over the past 50 years. Executives now spend an average of 23 hours a week in such meetings, up from less than 10 hours in the 1960s. Also, it is estimated that nearly $37 billion is spent on unproductive business meetings.
This raises many questions about how organizations should and shouldn’t conduct meetings. The majority of meetings fail because of poor planning and execution, especially in cases of novice young entrepreneurs running them. Knowing how to conduct a proper meeting is important especially when it is held with potential investors, with the goal of raising money for the business.
Here are a few meeting management tips that are quite easy to follow:
1. Prepare thoroughly
The first tip for a successful business meeting is to prepare yourself thoroughly.
Therefore, before conducting your next meeting, ask a few critical questions to yourself:
- What is the purpose of the meeting?
- What results or actions do you expect from the meeting?
- Is the meeting necessary? Could an email or a phone call achieve the same purpose more efficiently?
2. Meeting agenda
Once you’ve defined your meeting’s purpose, craft a short, specific meeting agenda, and share it with all the participants. It is also advisable to share the agenda a few days prior to the meeting; this way, participants can prepare in advance and familiarize themselves with the discussion points. Furthermore, the discussions will flow easier from one point to the next, thereby not wasting unnecessary time.
According to Real Business, a meeting agenda helps the team prepare and keeps it focused and on track. Remember not to describe the plan vaguely; be extremely specific and appropriate with your points.
3. Duration of the meeting
Although it’s acceptable for participants to mingle for a moment at the beginning of the meeting, it’s equally essential for you to start and conclude your business meetings on time. Nevertheless, it is also crucial to motivate participants to actively engage in the discussion to ensure that you’re utilizing everyone’s time efficiently.
Furthermore, creating connections with the participants is extremely important, especially in a hybrid/online environment. Ofir Bar, an investor in real estate and technological startups currently worth about $150 million, believes that every business meeting must wrap up within the specified duration. “Time is money. I know it sounds like a cliche, but it is true, and ever-relevant when you’re in that meeting room, thinking ‘I could do a lot of other productive things right now instead of being here”.
4. Take notes
Taking notes and key takeaways of the meeting is a must. It ensures a collective understanding of the discussions, clarity regarding the outcomes, and immediate initiatives to achieve business goals.
A good tip is to assign someone responsible for minute taking, as it will aid in distributing a protocol promptly once the meeting is concluded. Thereby, ensuring the relevant points and actions are captured efficiently.
If follow-up items need more meetings, schedule them immediately without waiting or procrastinating. Furthermore, review the previous minutes to ensure all outstanding points were actioned and challenge to complete tasks are managed within the forum.
Conducting business meetings is both an art and a strategy that should be less stressful and more motivating for young entrepreneurs. “Ask yourself if the meeting accomplished its goals, or what went wrong and what could be improved. This will not only boost your confidence but also help hone your meeting management skills,” says Bar.