Did you know, there are five basic requirements for meeting success? No matter whether you’re a seasoned organiser, or new to the job, stick to the guidelines and you’ll have a far better chance of delegates going away feeling upbeat and satisfied with the experience and outcome.
What types of meeting do the guidelines cover?
There are many different types of meetings, starting with the most simple, when one person simply communicates information by giving a presentation and the other attendees listen and hopefully take it in. With today’s advances in technology and presentation techniques, it’s no longer the most popular method.
Other meetings foster discussions, leading to a decision. Some organisers prefer to encourage much more participation from attendees, turning it into an interactive experience, with icebreakers, role-playing, breakouts and much more.
Whatever the type of meeting, and no matter how many people attend, it can fail if it’s badly run. If your meeting lacks any one of these five key requirements, its success can be limited:
Every meeting should have a clearly defined purpose, which must be communicated to all participants, so everyone fully understands. The organiser must make the reason for the meeting clear in advance, providing adequate details on the agenda, so everyone knows what to expect.
If the purpose of the meeting isn’t made clear, people will arrive with different, and sometimes incorrect expectations, so it will get off to a bad start.
While delegates should understand their obligation to listen to the speakers and show respect, they should also be told whether they have permission to ask questions, contribute to the debate and offer ideas.
Ideally, there shouldn’t be a hierarchy in the room which prohibits questions and participation from the floor. If this is the case, then the opportunity for fresh thinking and creativity will be lost.
Consider how many attendees will be there and how big the meeting room is. Often, choosing an offsite room with plenty of space for smaller groups, breakouts and networking can be highly beneficial.
Advise people of the length of the meeting, so they know how much of their working day will be spent there. This is efficient, not to mention courteous. The meeting must be long enough to cover the agenda, generate ideas, allow for discussion, make decisions and draw up action plans. However, it shouldn’t be so long that people wander off the agenda and start waffling or talking amongst themselves.
The chairperson or facilitator needs to set a structure for the meeting, using techniques and tools to encourage free discussion and generate ideas. They must ensure the most powerful voices don’t take over, giving premature criticism of other people’s ideas. While keeping within the time restraints, they should aim to ensure the meeting achieves its goals.
By carefully planning these five simple elements into your meeting, it will increase the chances of success. Participants should feel empowered in the discussions and decision-making process, rather than stifled and frustrated.
Remember these simple tips when preparing a meeting – whether it’s your first meeting or your one-hundredth. The same basic structure can be followed for all types of meetings, as these are the five fundamentals to organising an efficient gathering.
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