There is one universal trait that unifies all types of meetings – people spend their time communicating to find a solution for the problem or achieve certain goals. You must prepare whether you are planning meeting new business partners or doing a routine gathering of the team members engaged in a project. Careful planning is the key to conducting efficient meetings that solve problems.
Meeting preparation: Why would I waste time on that?
You might think that this process is very tiresome and complicated. It can be when you have loads of materials to prepare, meeting checklists to analyze, key aspects to emphasize, etc. But keep your main goal above it all – if everything goes as planned, you will get to work faster and finish your current tasks sooner. Also, during meeting preparation, you can build the hierarchy of the tasks at hand, set time limits for discussing each one of them, and quickly assign duties within the team.
There are tons of articles and materials explaining how to prepare for a meeting, but most of them describe typical psychological tips. Modern times require technical solutions such as automation of the information gathering routines, advanced meeting planning software, etc. When everything is implemented right, you will be saving a lot of time in the long run. Your meetings will become shorter, and you will need them less because everything will be structured and precise.
Every meeting should have its set duration based on the number of questions to discuss. This way, you won’t have to waste time on “talking” instead of “doing.” When your time bank is empty, and you still haven’t come up with a good idea, better cross out the question from the agenda for now and discuss it on the next meeting. Remember that it gets hard to find an adequate solution when everyone’s fixated on the same thing. Such little tips can also give a good insight on how to prepare for a meeting and keep your workflow efficient.
When it comes to business meetings involving several departments and multiple participants, you will need to plan even more to make every minute count. Going to a serious event without meeting preparation is the first step to failure. Here is short-list of “nice-to-haves:”
- Checklist for the meeting.
- Prepared agenda.
- Information to support and develop the agenda.
- Distributable feedback forms to gather reviews from meeting attendees
The most important idea you must understand is that the time spent preparing is an investment. Any meeting preparation must be well-balanced so that you won’t spend hours preparing for short gatherings. Optimize your time as it is the most important resource we have in our possession. Incorporate additional planning meeting tools into your strategy to improve your time-management skills, boost working productivity, and even save some money on canceled meetings you no longer need. This alone is already a good enough motivation to learn how to prepare for a meeting.
According to the statistics, there is one reason across the board that consumes and wastes working time on all kinds of projects like no other. It is called “too many meetings.” Research shows that employees and managers in big corporations participate in 70 meetings monthly spending more than one-third of their time talking and listening instead of doing actual work.
Don’t get the wrong idea here. Meetings are important, and you need them to keep your team updated. The problem is having ineffective meetings. However, there is a simple and elegant solution to this. Download our meeting checklists free of charge. Following these guidelines will help you conduct more efficient and less stressful meetings that will save your resources, time, and money.
It is a good example proving that you can keep everything neatly organized. By performing the recommended actions from this meeting checklist, you will optimize the meeting routines for your team. So, no one will be feeling exhausted from emotional burnout after discussing the same project over and over again. Print our checklist or save it on your mobile device for the next meeting and see for yourself. In the long run, the effectiveness of your meets with the team will increase inevitably. Sign up for the free trial of yoyomeeting for a more advanced approach inside your Outlook 365.
How to prepare for a meeting
Without a well-thought-out structure, your session with the team will slide into chaos, leaving you with questions unanswered and time wasted. Furthermore, an unsuccessful meeting can interrupt the normal workflow by shifting the focus to less relevant aspects (in the current scenario). That is why you need to plan your meetings.
Every host wants to be sure that their meetings are efficient but not very time-consuming. Here we gathered the most popular tips from managers in small business and big corporations. Consider reading them to understand how to organize a meeting.
- When you are hosting a meeting, coordinate the schedule, pacing of the meeting, and prepare all needed materials to share with the team.
- Set the main goals for the session. For example, decide whether you want to inform the employees about the newest updates or need to get a solution for the concrete problem.
- Develop the appropriate agenda depending on the previous paragraph. If you suppose that your meeting will require more time than usual, inform all attendees beforehand. Don’t forget to include bathroom breaks and time for refreshment breaks.
- Make all necessary arrangements to reserve a meeting room big enough to host attending people comfortably. Be sure that the schedule is suitable for all main speakers expected to participate in the meeting.
- Share the information about the time and location of your meeting.
- Double-check the equipment you will be using during the session. A digital presentation, for example, will require a laptop, powerful projector, and a big screen. All these devices must be ready before you start, so all you will need to do is connect your computer and push the button to start presenting.
- Prepare other visual materials, print them if necessary. It is also recommended to bring handouts with the most important information, so every participant will have a chance to make their notes in a structured way.
- This tip is optional, but we still recommend following it. When all preparations are done according to the meeting planning checklist, do a quick test to simulate the beginning of the meeting. Hassle-free start allows you to get right to the point of the meeting faster.
- Send a reminder to all attendees one day before the meeting. Everyone needs to be at the location before the meeting, organize them gently.
Friendly advice and our conclusion
Now you understand the importance of planning and meetings preparations. To make things easier for you, we have the tool that will be of great help in your business and daily routines. It is a universal instrument for managing meetings in all aspects imaginable. Facilitate the creation of meeting minutes, meeting agendas, and assign action items with the yoyomeeting add-in for Office 365. Start your free trial now!
Improve your meetings with
With all these tips, you might be already great in planning a meeting. But to make life easier, you might want to read how our meeting management software can help you in the meeting process.
Apart from the Outlook add-in, we offer a lot more content on meeting management with hacks on how to improve your meeting culture. So follow uns on facebook or connect to our LinkedIn company profile to stay in the loop and to get the latest on meeting management excellence.