8 Simple Tips to Make Your Business Meeting Effective
Young entrepreneurs or potential entrepreneurs discuss amazing business ideas with each other. However, most of them are not yet to be executed. Planning and strategizing is an important part of the business. This is why these young entrepreneurs need to hold an effective business meeting to help them execute their idea.
The common goal of all meetings even among accomplished entrepreneurs is to plan and strategize effectively. What are the tips for making your meeting effective?
1. Define the goal for your meeting
You need a goal for your meeting to prevent the discussions from getting out of topic. The goal of the meeting is more like the subject of discussion for the day. An example of the goal of a meeting is to promote ideas on how the company can deliver its services more efficiently.
Another example is how to launch a new startup. People who are taking part in the meeting will need to prepare their ideas prior to the meeting. The presentation of the ideas will help in creating an effective communication structure in the business.
2. Is a meeting necessary?
In case there are other costs involved, you should ask if there is an alternative to the meeting. For example, if some of the stakeholders are abroad, you should try doing a conference call or a skype video call. If such media is able to address your agenda effectively, you can use it as physical meetings can be costly.
3. Set an agenda for the meeting
An agenda is more detailed than a goal. An agenda will include multiple specific objectives. Setting an agenda will help to prioritize the topics of discussion. A meeting without an agenda will take long hours as the discussions bounce around random topics. You should start the agenda list in order of topics with the highest priority.
If possible, each topic should have an estimated time.
The agendas can be printed on a handout, noted on the whiteboard or explicitly discussed prior to the meeting.
4. Start on time
It is important that you all keep time for the meeting. When everyone is present at the agreed time, there will be some positive energy as the meeting starts. Moreover, the meeting will not have to end later than expected. You will also not have to rush through the agenda if you start on time. A rushed agenda risks an ineffective business meeting as some points may be forgotten or skipped.
Time is one of the informal rules you should always observe at a place of work.
5. Give everyone a role
When everyone has a role in the meeting, participation is high. They will know what is expected of them. Distinguishing between leadership and consensus decisions is also part of defining roles. It will prevent heated arguments and will help the meeting to run within the expected time.
6. Make everyone a presenter and judge of ideas
This is another strategy to get the people present to contribute. It will promote discussions surrounding ideas and will influence the best action plan. If you are holding a meeting in a room with a whiteboard, you can have everyone present their ideas on it. The members of the audience will then give their opinions and ratings of the ideas.
They can have rating cards with options like ‘Yes’, ‘Wait on It’ or ‘No’.
7. Have minutes
Some people learn how to write minutes as essay tests from elementary school and in high school. Minutes are important to keep track of the meeting’s proceedings, document facts and present a basis to create an agenda for the next meeting.
You should have some personal notes about what you have learned, what future roles you have been assigned and any ideas you could present later. Even an amateur meeting needs to have minutes. You can learn how to write minutes in case you have forgotten.
8. Action plan
The meeting should conclude with an action plan. An action plan will involve a decision on what to do. This plan will describe the various roles people will play in the plan and will set deadlines. You will be able to review the progress of the plan in the coming meeting by cross-checking the different roles played in the plan against their deadlines.
Some of these tips will apply even when you are meeting with potential investors and stakeholders. For example, having a goal and an agenda for the meeting and keeping time. The end result of your meeting should be an actionable plan to help you fulfill your goals and agenda.