Proper facilitation of a business meeting can demonstrate your leadership and ability to conduct a meeting effectively. Everyone has stories about business meetings that get out of control or run on too long without accomplishing much if anything. To avoid these stories there are a few simple steps that can help everything run smoother, like making sure the business meeting doesn’t stray beyond its purpose, keep the attendees involved and be sure to keep attendees focused. This will insure the time investment in the meeting is a valued one. We must always remember everyone’s time is valuable.
Simple tips for an effective business meeting
- As the facilitator, you must be prepared to deliver the business meeting subject matter with complete and total understanding of its content. Anybody can just read off a PowerPoint presentation. You must be prepared to answer questions and expand on the content.
- Reserve an adequate space for the business meeting and provide refreshments. Even for a short 20-minute meeting coffee and water should be available. If it is a meeting expected to last over 4 hours, consider providing breakfast or lunch. If you are offering breakfast or lunch, just to be courteous let the attendees know what will be available to them in case you need to accommodate special needs.
- Make sure you set an agenda including a start and finish time. Be sure to stick to the agenda and timeline considerations. We all know how business meetings can get off track and run longer than the designated time lines.
- Start the business meeting by introducing yourself along with your credentials, and then have participants do the same. As the facilitator, you should set the tone of professionalism and allow attendees to gain an understanding of one another.
- Review the agenda with the attendees and introduce the subject matter in detail. Set the expectations you have and reiterate the time allowed for the business meeting encouraging participation from the attendees.
- Be sure you follow your agenda, don’t let any attendee’s side track you or cause you to lose focus. Once you lose focus it is hard to regain the focus and attention.
- At the end of the presentation, make sure you ask if there are any questions or points they may need to review for clarification. Be sure everyone leaves the business meeting with total understanding of the subject matter and any expectations they are responsible for.
- Thank your audience and advise them they will be getting a communication from you referencing the meetings subject matter. If there is follow up required, remind the attendee’s of the follow up expectations and timeline restrictions if there are any.
- Make sure you have all the contact information from the attendee’s, follow up the meeting with an email to each of them thanking them for attending and recapping the business meeting content and most important points. Also advise the attendee’s they can contact you for any additional information or questions they may have in reference to the business meetings subject matter.
Follow these simple steps and you will be set on the right track to a successful business meeting.