Getting the Most Out of a Business Meeting

Most of us spend a large part of our work day going from business meeting to another without bothering to assess if we are actually gaining anything out of them. Is there a way to make business meetings more productive?

In order to make the most out of a business meeting you need to improve the productivity of each such meeting. Every meeting should extract the maximum possible for the duration that it lasts. Do not try to make a meeting cover everything under the sun. Instead, try to make sure that the items on the agenda for the particular meeting are covered effectively. At the end of the meeting, the participants should leave knowing the tasks that they need to accomplish.

Here are a few more tips to get the most of out your business meetings.

Business meetings should never be held on an ad hoc basis. You should prepare for a meeting in advance. Start by listing the objectives of the meeting. These objectives need to be clear, specific and measurable. These will help you check if you have covered the meeting goals. You will also waste less time trying to get to the point. List out the expectations or results that you expect from the meeting. During the course of the meeting, encourage the other participants to contribute with their ideas and opinions so that you have their buy-in. The more involved people are, the quicker you will be able to see results. Focus on the bigger issues at hand and do not let tertiary issues take over the meeting. Allow the tone of the meeting to be casual but do not let that make the participants treat the meeting as being frivolous. Leave the jokes for later.

Do not invite people to business meetings unless their presence is required. Just invite those who can actually contribute to the agenda of the meeting. This avoids wasting time for those people who are not really required. Business meetings should be held in a pleasant environment that makes the participants feel relaxed and comfortable. If required, you could rent out an office or conference venue for the meeting so that people have the opportunity to unwind.

Although you have prepared the points that need to be made do not be in a hurry to get to them immediately. Set a steady pace for the meeting and start by making everyone feel comfortable. The tempo should neither be too slow nor too fast.

Planning an Off-Site Business Meeting

Conducting a business meeting is one of the most important events in the business calendar. As a business owner you might need to conduct some meetings with the customer at a peaceful and a calm location, so that the meetings will not have any distractions from your day-to-day business. When conducting such client meetings it is very important for the business to consider certain factors. These factors include the availability of a meeting place with good infrastructure, proper communication to all the attendees well in advance and provision of good quality food to the people attending the meeting.

When one looks for an ideal destination to conduct the meeting, the person should also look for the availability of a meeting place in the destination with the entire required infrastructure such as chairs and tables, proper ventilation, projectors in working condition and provision for working with laptops.

These are only some of the major facilities that are required for meetings. There are other factors that might be minor, but also extremely important to smoothly conduct the meeting. Thus before booking the hall, one should have a checklist of items that needs to be available in the meeting hall. While talking to the meeting hall representative, the business owner can ask for the availability of all the items in the check list.

The business owner should ensure that the meeting schedule is circulated to the target audience some weeks in advance. Complete details including the meeting hall location in the town, landmarks to easily identify the meeting hall, the start time of the meeting and the lunch break and the end time. The meeting attendees also should be informed whether lunch will be served there. The meeting agenda should clearly mention the topics to be discussed and who is going to deliver the speech for that topic.

On the day of the meeting, the person responsible for making the arrangements should reach the meeting place well in advance. The person should be there at least an hour before the meeting starts. By reaching early, the concerned person can cross check whether all the arrangements are in place for the meeting to start on time. There should not be any last minute surprises.

While conducting the meeting, it is important for the participants to strictly adhere to the schedule mentioned. Speakers should not deviate too much from the topic of discussion and should talk only about the topic planned.

Business Meetings Online – Catch the Wave of the Future

Are you new to business meetings online? If so, you need to get with the program! Holding business meetings online is becoming an accepted, even encouraged, practice in today’s enterprise. Hosting or attending business meetings online is an essential component of business communications.

Today’s online meetings are collaborative affairs. You can share applications and documents, send messages, and even work on the whiteboard. Online meetings are definitely revolutionizing the way people interact. No longer just a business tool, you’ll find religious groups, addiction support groups, and civic groups meeting online.

Several web sites have emerged that allow participants of online business meetings to exchange graphic files and images while eliminating the need for a video cam or web cam. An added bonus is there is no need for you and/or your meeting partners to download cumbersome software before the meeting.

Business meetings online, used appropriately, can save small business owners, and their clients, time and money. Note that I’m not advocating using an online meeting to cold-call or prospect with. First time meetings with potential clients are probably still best held face-to-face. But a follow-up meeting to answer questions? Definitely think about doing it online. Where a phone conference is a “tell” method of selling, the online meeting takes it to the “show-and-tell “method.

Other solid benefits of online business meetings are reduced expenses, higher productivity and increased time. These are mainly accomplished by eliminating travel time and expense. Rather than have the meeting attendees gather in one physical location, the World Wide Web is used to create a virtual meeting place that can be accessed with the proper login credentials.

Online meetings are a secure way to interact with your clients, business partners and team members. This makes them ideal for sales pitches, performance reporting or providing training for other members of your organization. Online meetings make audio communication possible by using VoIP (voice over IP) applications.

Online meetings are idea for organizing small impromptu meetings of fewer than 8 participants. This particularly benefits small businesses where interactions tend to be spur-of-the-moment and include fewer participants than in larger companies.

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