How many people should you invite to a meeting?
When organising a meeting, the number of people you invite is just as important as the items on the agenda. Too many or too few delegates can result in the whole affair being a waste of time for everyone.
If you’re pushed for time, it’s easy to lapse into default mode and invite too many people, as this means you won’t have to identify the ones who are critical to the gathering. It might also help you to avoid ruffling any feathers if you don’t invite someone who thinks they should be there.
At the other end of the scale, you may invite only a small group of people to keep it simple. However, for any meeting to run efficiently, you need to be sure you have the right people there, regardless of numbers.
With too many in the room, it’s more challenging to focus everyone’s attention simultaneously on the task at hand. It also makes it harder to accomplish your goals if people wish to give their opinions frequently.
However, with too few attendees, you might not have the people needed to provide relevant information or make decisions.
Although it may be more time-consuming, plan your attendee list carefully – consider who is needed to help you achieve your meeting’s goals. To provide a variety of perspectives; it will probably be a combination of people.
Prepare a list of individuals and make sure you include the key decision-makers; the people with knowledge and information about the topics on the agenda; those who have a stake in the issues; employees who need to know the information in order to do their job; and those who must implement any decisions you make.
Consult with other managers or team leaders if you’re in any doubt about whether you’ve compiled the definitive list. Often, someone else can remind you of a delegate you’ve overlooked.
How many people?
There are no hard and fast rules as to how many people you should invite. In principle, a smaller meeting is usually more effective to decide and accomplish something specific, while a medium-sized meeting is best for brainstorming. You can go large for communicating and rallying.
If you’re problem-solving or decision-making, the general rule of thumb is to invite no more than eight people. More participants can result in conﬂicting input that’s difﬁcult to deal with. When you’re having a brainstorming session, you can safely invite as many as 18 or 20 people.
When the meeting is to provide updates, invite those who need to receive the updates. When the meeting is simply for you to rally the troops, you can invite as many as you like, as long as you have a big enough venue.
If it’s a meeting involving customers, be sure to ask delegates from outside your organisation how many participants they will be sending.
Once you’ve decided how many people you’re inviting, plan the schedule, seating arrangements and food well in advance. Determine the most effective room layout, which is influenced by the number of attendees, and make sure you order enough refreshments for everyone.
Never order so much food that it ends up going to waste. Similarly, don’t order too little, leaving some people dissatisfied with the catering. You don’t want to get a reputation for poor planning!
Throughout the pandemic, &Meetings has recognised the importance of cleanliness in our business centres. Our own in-house cleaning division ensures continued high standards are met at all our venues.
Our meeting rooms are maintained and cleaned by our own personnel. More than 150,000 hours per year are spent cleaning our centres.
We also launched new procedures to minimise any potential risk of infections from surfaces. Our stringent deep cleaning programme includes a monthly fogging of all rooms. An ionised solution is sprayed into the air. When it settles, it covers all surfaces, creating a sterilised environment for up to 30 days.
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