In the modern world, holding a meeting that is intended to include every member of an organisation can prove one of the most logistically challenging tasks in business.
The age of technology and globalisation means that workforces now have a greater geographical spread than ever before and simply having the resources to get everyone’s heads together at once has become quite a difficult task.
With that in mind, here are a few pointers on those extra considerations that could easily slip even the most experienced boss’s memory, but might be the difference between a meeting being successful or utterly chaotic.
Choose the right location
With more and more employees working remotely or from the comfort of their own home, it may be the case that company meetings are the only opportunity managers get to communicate with them in person.
Logistically, it is always going to be easier for these individuals to make it if the meeting is held somewhere central, even if this is not where the firm is actually based.
For example, the premium price that is placed on office space in London is simply something certain companies cannot afford. This means that many may choose to locate their head office a little further out of town, perhaps on industrial estates where rent and leases are cheaper.
Therefore a hired meeting room in central London may well pose the best option in this scenario, meaning workers from all over the country should be able to make it via public transport.
Similarly, hiring an event space could mean firms can accommodate more attendees than would be possible at their regular headquarters.
Business is an international game, spanning the whole of the globe. Larger companies especially are likely to have employees based in numerous areas of the world, meaning time differences could lead to incompatible working hours.
When planning a large meeting it is best to choose a time that fits in with as many people’s schedules as possible, but occasionally it just won’t be feasible to have the whole team on board at the same time.
In these cases, organising repeat meeting sessions or perhaps even filming it and sending the video around to those who cannot attend is usually the best approach.
With offices, managers and clients all speaking different languages – or at least not having English as a first language – it is imperative to ensure that everyone involved in a meeting comes away with the same consistent message.
In order for this to happen it may be that a number of measures need to be put in place to overcome the language barrier.
Spoken interpreters and translators can be employed on a one-off basis to take part in meetings so that any attendees from further afield do not lose track of what is being said.
Similarly, written translators could be brought in to provide transcripts of the meeting. It could well prove counter-productive to have to stop a meeting at numerous intervals because one or two are not quite following it, so having a full explanatory transcript could be crucial to ensuring a presentation gets results.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to make sure that everyone is given as much background material and itinerary information before they arrive on the day as possible.
It is just common sense that everything will run more smoothly if attendees know what to expect. This might involve what seems like a lot of work in the run up to the event, but in the end it really will be worth the effort.
Giving employees at every level access to any Powerpoint presentations a couple of days before the conference will give them chance to familiarise themselves with the material involved and allow them to read up on any aspects that they are not too sure of.
This also provides an insight into the members of staff that are most dedicated to really immersing themselves in the philosophy of the company.
The bottom line is that a company-wide meeting could be a ‘once in a blue moon’ occasion so it is is always best to devote as much time and attention as possible to getting it right.