7 Steps to Preparing a Great Meeting

Meetings are often seen as productivity killers. Although it is impossible to just dispense with them, they are mainly seen as a waste of precious time: endless discussions, lack of clear objective, monopoly of speaking time… Many factors can lead to an unproductive meeting, hence the necessity to prepare them well. The following list collects the 7 steps to make your meeting the most efficient.
1) Call a meeting only if necessary
If an email does the job, don’t disturb your team with a physical reunion.
2) Only invite the people concerned
Nothing is more frustrating than being summoned for a meeting that doesn’t involve you. Bear in mind that, in addition to wasting their personal work time, these extra participants can be counterproductive to the meeting.
3) Establish clear objectives
For each addressed topic, you should set a clear goal: are you trying to reach a decision? Get input from your team? Or simply deliver information? Setting strict goals to a meeting will allow a quick and efficient outcome and stop the discussion wandering off track.
4) Prepare a schedule
This is particularly useful if the topics are lead by different people during the meeting. Allocate a realistic speaking time to each of them and stick to the program.
5) Prepare all equipment needed beforehand
Avoid wasting everyone’s precious time because you haven’t got the documents or technical requirements ready.
6) Start and end on time
People are more likely to attend your meetings if they know it won’t finish an hour later than expected. Show them you understand that their time is valuable.
7) Follow up
Attendees might have misunderstood certain points of the meeting. Therefore, a brief report is important to assure everyone is on the same page. In addition, you can ask for feedback on the quality of the meeting. This will help you to improve the process for the next time.

by Geoffroy Vandenput