A successful business meeting is much more a question of organization and preparation than necessity or need. Subject to the discretion of the manager, the relevance of a meeting is sometimes questionable, but that does not prevent it from being successful, if it is well prepared. In fact, the relationship between organization and efficiency is a cause and effect relationship: a well-organized meeting is a meeting that produces effective and useful results for all employees. With this in mind, management specialists recommend following an action plan made up of several steps that make it possible to achieve the set objective. Here are theses steps.
Set Specific Goals
The success of a meeting depends in part on its preparation. There is no need to meet regularly, every Monday morning for example. To be effective, you must do it only when you know what it will be used for”.
Defining the objectives of this meeting makes it possible to define the agenda. Establish it in a clear and concise manner, detailing the topics covered. This will assess the time needed for the meeting and perhaps eliminate some points. You have to be reasonable: a usual two-hour work meeting is generally enough.
Think About Place and Time
The place where the meeting will take place is important: “To make the presence of the boss less burdensome, avoid his office”, considers René Moulinier. The choice of a meeting room is therefore more judicious. Avoid blind rooms – participants get tired much faster if they are not lit by daylight – as well as concrete walls, which reverberate sound, and prefer light walls.
To put the facilitator at the center of the group, the ideal is a U-shaped table. During exceptional meetings that last a long time, a break is required at least every two hours. If possible, avoid the 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. time slot, the time of day when the brain is less alert due to digestion.
Choose the Right Participants
Make sure that all employees present have a real interest in taking part in the meeting. A good remedy against boredom and possible yawning… The facilitator can also plan the presence of certain people for part of the meeting, depending on the points discussed.
Participants often arrive with a blank notepad and a pen, when they should come with a file containing the history of the meetings and a presentation of their intervention. To chase away the spirit of improvisation and the inefficiency that ensues, let your employees know in advance of the meeting, the agenda and its schedule. Clearly ask them to prepare for a structured debate, for example by specifying on each invitation that you expect someone to speak on a particular issue. They will prepare all the more as they know how much time will be allocated to each point. In order to optimize the dynamics of the exchanges, do not exceed eight or ten people per meeting.
Notify attendees that the meeting will start on time. This is the best way for it to end in due time, a simple rule of respect for the organization of everyone’s work.
If someone arrives late, the host can momentarily stop the flow of the meeting to point this out. We bet that the latecomer will pay more attention to his watch at the next appointment.
Animate by Listening
The choice of the hierarchical superior as leader of the meeting is often not the best: the function requires not to be one of the most involved participants. Guarantor of the pace of the meeting, the leader speaks little and is able to get others to express themselves in order to achieve the objectives set.
It regulates speaking time. When a new issue threatens to take over the discussion, he treats it as a separate agenda item and postpones it.
Establish Clear Rules
A meeting always begins with the clear formulation of the topics on the agenda, as well as the timing planned for each of the points. Indeed, the participants did not necessarily write down everything. The leader must enter into a kind of contract with the group in order to frame the spirit of the meeting. At the start of the meeting, he lays down the principle that those who want to criticize make a counter-proposal, in order to discuss then of all the proposals.
With a positive review, the debate will be more constructive. The facilitator also reminds that if certain points are not addressed, they will be postponed to the next meeting, and appoints a meeting secretary, who will take note of the decisions. This opening presentation should not last more than two minutes.
Synthesize the Results
At the end of the meeting, the facilitator sums up, orally, the decisions made, the missions of each person between now and the next meeting and the points still under discussion, to be included on a future agenda. He thus evaluates with the audience if the objectives of the meeting have been achieved, which also allows him to be certain that everything is clear in the minds of the participants and that they have all understood the same thing.
The secretary of the meeting then distributes, within 24 hours, a report intended for the participants and for those interested in the subject. Precise and concise, it should not exceed two pages.