There are many tips and tricks that businesses can implement to improve their meeting processes and planning, which we’ve outlined below. Reading through this meeting checklist and adopting some (if not all) of these preparation techniques will have a huge impact on your meeting efficiency.
- Why is it important to effectively plan a meeting?
- Checking it’s necessary
- Finalising the invites
- Picking a time
- Picking a location
- Setting a length
- Writing an agenda
- Sending reminders
- Taking minutes
- Etiquette and engagement
- Remote etiquette
- After-meeting checklist
Why it’s important to effectively plan a meeting
Simply put, it will save you a huge amount of time and money.
A huge 71% of senior managers have stated that the meetings they attend are unproductive or inefficient. And, since time is quite literally money (meetings are a huge cost to businesses around the globe) cutting this statistic down is in everyone’s best interest.
Effectively planning a meeting will mean that you can cut down the number of meetings your team need to attend, meeting lengths and the productivity of the people in them! In turn, the following aspects will improve:
- Team’s organisation skills
- Use of time
- Team relationship
- Workflow management
- Speed of problem-solving, decision making and action taking
Effective meeting planning guidelines
Following these steps and guides will help to ensure your meetings are set up for success.
Check the meeting is really necessary
A good number of meetings could’ve easily been an email, saving everyone time. There are some simple ways to check if you are better off sending an email, which you can find in our how to tell if the meeting really needs to happen. In simple terms, the best way to save time when it comes to meetings is to only have them when they’re really needed.
Cut down the invite list
Knowing who to invite to your meeting is one of the most essential steps in your meeting planning checklist. Inviting people who don’t want or need to be there will prolong the length of the meeting, waste valuable time and bring down the overall mood and productivity of the meeting. Keeping the invite list short and focused is a much better technique.
Time it right
The time that you hold a meeting at will have a huge impact on how your meeting goes. The ideal time changes depending on your meeting. For example, a meeting where you’re trying to sell to a client will work better at a different time to a brainstorming meeting. Our how to pick a time for your meeting guide has all the handy hints you need to set the perfect time.
Pick a location
A huge 40% of workers have claimed to spend up to 30 minutes just searching for a space to hold their meetings.
This is a huge loss of time and money and can be easily avoided by organising a meeting location beforehand. Whether this is onsite in a predetermined meeting room or space or offsite at a local coffee shop, if you’ve got a preset location you can jump right into the meeting content without crushing motivation and time by wandering aimlessly around the office.
Cut it short
Picking an optimal meeting length is an area that many businesses are failing at. Most meetings could be cut down in length by about 15 minutes, without hindering their productivity or outcome. Our comprehensive guide to setting a meeting length will walk you through choosing the perfect length for your meeting, depending on what kind of meeting it is.
Add an agenda
The majority (67%) of employees think that having a well-prepared agenda is a sign of a good meeting, and rightfully so! Creating an effective meeting agenda that clearly documents the decisions, questions and actions that will be tackled in your meeting gives the attendees the chance to gather necessary information, supplies and resources for the meeting. This makes writing an agenda one of the most vital parts of planning a meeting.
It also means that you have a guide to refer back to should the conversation get off topic at any point and offers a clear set of actions to follow.
Remind the team of what is to come
Sending meeting reminders does more than just tell the team where to be and at what time. In your reminder, you should also include a list of what is expected of each member and give them any information that needs to be seen before the meeting. This means that your attendees will come full of ideas and actions ready for a fruitful discussion that will lead to well-thought-out decisions or actions. Meetings where attendees are well prepared are, of course, much more effective.
Taking minutes will ensure that no vital information that is shared during the meeting will be forgotten or overlooked afterwards.
A template for meeting minutes should be prepared beforehand and include everything from the basics to the complex actions that need to be taken afterwards. Check out our guide to great meeting minutes for more tips on how to best capture these essential points!
Focus on etiquette and engagement
Once you’ve planned your meeting, assigned someone to take minutes and successfully gathered the troops, you may think you can relax.
However, keeping the motivation high and the creativity flowing is the next step to success. Be sure to check out our advice on how to engage your team using great meeting etiquette next!
That counts for remote meetings, too!
Remote meetings have their own rules and processes to follow in terms of etiquette. Engaging those who join you via Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts will work a little differently. But, we have a remote meeting etiquette guide that you can check out too!
Whether your meeting was a huge success or you noticed a lot that could be improved, you need an after meeting checklist in place. This means you are constantly learning and evolving your meetings to be the best they could possibly be! Check out our after-meeting checklist here for inspiration.
Want to find more ways to finetune the way your team works? Check out our guide to emails, here.