What makes a meeting worth attending?

Research has shown that the one thing we all want when attending a meeting is clarity. According to surveys, people feel a meeting makes the best use of their time when it’s being held for a clearly defined purpose.

When delegates were asked what made a good meeting, 62% agreed it must be “clear” and “relevant”. These were the most-used adjectives in surveys, suggesting that people wanted more than to simply attend.

They also want to know exactly why they’re meeting and what their collective goal is. Understanding the meeting’s business function is important to every attendee – not just the managers and organisers.

Good practice
Some aspects of making a meeting successful are universally understood. For example, setting the agenda well in advance and circulating it to attendees is usual. Arriving early at the venue and having a check-in, particularly for larger gatherings, is also useful.

Putting the most important item on the agenda first to grab delegates’ interest, so that it’s discussed while they are feeling fresh and alert, is a common tactic. So is breaking up attendees into smaller groups to work on team challenges.

Keeping topics short and sweet is another choice for many speakers, who realise people’s attention span isn’t limitless. The list of tips is endless and each one is equally valuable. Putting them all together can seem a daunting task, but perseverance will pay dividends in terms of the effectiveness of your meeting.

Success factors
It goes without saying that a meeting has been worth attending if it proves effective, in terms of takeaways for delegates that they can use in their day-to-day work.

According to surveys of delegates, the perceived meeting effectiveness is high if they have been able to use the things they have learned to enhance their working practices. This goes back to people’s preference for wanting clarity when it comes to meetings.

By identifying the purpose of the meeting and its desired outcome – for example, to streamline working practices for a particular team or department – the meeting would be considered effective if attendees went away with plenty of useful ideas to put into practice.

As an organiser, when you start by determining the purpose and goal of the meeting, you can compile the attendee list and agenda more easily, applying the relevant meeting tools and techniques. There will be no need to remember the massive checklist of what makes a good meeting, as you can tailor the list to your bespoke requirements.

After the meeting, it always pays to send out a feedback request to delegates. Gauging people’s views on how they think it went is far more effective than reading books on how to organise a good meeting! Use their opinions to modify your next meeting.

Positive feedback
When asked for feedback on meetings they have attended, delegates who have given a positive response have generally focused on the clarity of the agenda and the effectiveness of transferring the information to their own work.

Comments received for successful meetings include praising the speakers for being “well prepared” and for having a “clear agenda with topics relevant to my work”. Other delegates enjoyed being able to “contribute to the conversation” and being “part of the decision-making process”.

Veering off the topic is something no-one enjoys. Positive feedback was given for organisers and speakers who “understood what the meeting was about”, in terms of their own role and keeping everyone else on topic.

Another positive for delegates is when they go into a meeting with a list of issues and questions in advance and “always end up moving forward”.

Organisers who have reached the top of their profession routinely receive excellent feedback, such as when delegates “can’t remember a time when things didn’t progress to a final resolution”.

Going forward, organisers can build on delegates’ feedback to ensure their meetings are always in the “worth attending” bracket. Never be crestfallen about negative feedback – instead, see it as a tool to help you improve your future performance.

Make sure your meetings get off to a positive start by contacting &Meetings for details of our affordable venues. We cater for all types of requirements, including meetings, conferences, training sessions and networking, in prime city spots.

Give us a call on 0800 073 0499 and we’ll assist you with the complete booking process.

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