Whether it’s six people in a conference room, 20 on a call, or 300 being recognized as the best of the best… meetings matter.
It’s funny, then, that so many people don’t really like going to meetings. Some do, of course (they are sometimes referred to as BLUE or FEELER or PEOPLE PEOPLE). But you can refer to Myers Briggs or DiSC or Personality Compass and understand that in every meeting – some want to talk and socialize and see and hear… and some would have preferred getting a 15 page summary of the key points of the meeting. The number of people who fall in that last camp is relatively small, about 5 percent according to profiles.
So how do you put together and execute a meeting that works for everyone?
- Have a goal.
- Meaning: At the end of the meeting, ask yourself if you accomplished your goal. You should be able to answer yes or no.
- Start on time.
- Have an agenda.Follow the agenda but allow for fun, unexpected, productive add-ins that still fall within the overall agenda.
- Allow for frequent scheduled breaks. If attendees know a break is coming, it’s easier to wait for that bio break or phone call.
- Feed attendees if it’s an all day or multiple-day meeting.
- Give them enough time to eat. But not too much. Not sure? Ask a planner.
- Realize that some down time is valuable, too
- Make it interactive – listen to the attendees and encourage (even require) their participation and input. Give them opportunities for anonymous contribution, too. Transparency is in. To stay.
- Make it fun
- Summarize the accomplishments, open or tabled items, and what’s due (and when) from participants
- End on time
- Follow up to confirm what happened and restating what’s next
Most of these are pretty basic and could be written by many people who’ve planned or hosted or even attended a meeting in the past ten years.
Why are they so often missed, then? Go to any meeting facility anywhere in the country (the world, really) and many of the boxes for the “musts” above are just not ticked.
Sometimes, people planning meetings are so caught up in the minutiae that they lose sight of the big picture.
Sometimes, they think it’s someone else’s role.
Sometimes, it’s that the planners don’t have (and don’t demand) a seat at the table.
Each of the following details should be considered in detail – and in full light of the OBJECTIVE of the meeting: The venue. The room. The layout. Accommodations. Transportation. Room drops. Printed agendas. Smartphone apps. Interactivity. Goody bags. Decor. Music. Breakouts. Social activities. Menu. On site communications. Audience participation.
Have you ever gotten a rain poncho as a room drop… when there are no outdoor activities? I have.
Food for thought.