Our team here at sparkspace has been involved in setting up, planning, and participating in thousands of meetings over the years, and there are always aspects that are either major dos or don’ts. After discussing with my team, we’ve come up three key aspects that will either create a flawless, well-planned meeting, or send it into a downward spiral. These three simple takeaways can easily be applied to any meeting, which could lead to your best meeting ever.
Agenda Dos: Having an agenda prepared and sent out to your team prior to the meeting ensures the facilitator is prepared. It also prepares the team for all upcoming topics, which gives them time to gather materials, data, reports, etc, needed for discussion. Agendas keep everybody on track, and in a way, are the silent facilitator.
Agenda Don’ts: Not having an agenda, or throwing it together the morning of is a business meeting no-no. A facilitator that is bouncing all over the place and does not stay focused is extremely distracting. If the team has no prior knowledge of meeting topics, they will not be prepared and will not have the proper materials gathered.
Breaks Dos: This may be surprising for some, but having breaks scheduled, and taking them frequently will allow your team to stay energize, focused, and engaged. Breaks are no longer just for running to the restrooms. Teams need to stay in touch with the outside world. Emails need responses, phone calls need returned, and social media needs checked. Giving your team the time to respond to these outside needs will eliminate unnecessary interruptions.
Break Don’ts: If frequent breaks are not scheduled, or breaks are skipped, you’re sure to have interruptions from the team breaking on their own. Distractions with their phones, emails, etc will become increasing harder to resist the longer it takes to break.
Technology Dos: Testing your technology prior to the meeting will ensure all items are working correctly, which will save time later, and not interrupt the meeting. Is the music on my YouTube Video working? Are my powerpoint slides clicking through correctly? Do we have enough bandwidth for the video-conferencing? You will not want to answer these questions after the meeting begins.
Technology Don’ts: Improperly working technology looks bad on the facilitator; it looks bad on the facility, and is a huge time waster. This is the quickest way to get your meeting off track, and one of the easiest to avoid.
I’ve touched on all three of these subjects, separately, in previous blog posts, but the combination of using all three, correctly, is sure to lead to a successful meeting.
If you have any business meeting dos and dont’s, I’d love to hear them. Please share your comments below.