Collaboration is the cornerstone of success in the business industry. That’s why employees spend 37% of their work hours in meetings and conferences. The trend of gathering for commercial purposes hasn’t died even after the pandemic. People just have switched to teleconferencing via Zoom and Skype to digitize face-to-face interactions. It’s every worker’s objective to ace a business meeting by making it more productive. So, here are some expert tips to have a successful business meeting.
1. Get a plan/agenda
What is the most common factor which decreases the effectiveness of a business meeting? The answer could be the lack of a proper plan/agenda to conduct the meeting. Statistics show that just over one-third of US meetings have a pre-established agenda. Now you might think, why is having a meeting outline important? A well-drafted meeting outline reduces the meeting time by 80%, contributing to the conference’s success. Since an agenda clarifies the purpose of the scheduled meeting, attendants can prepare well for the gathering ahead of time.
2. Choose the best location
Meetings are rightfully called a “collaborative process.” If you wish to conduct a successful meeting, allow everyone to participate and share their viewpoints. Selecting an appropriate location that fits well with the business environment is crucial. The geography of the meeting location can enhance the attendants’ willingness to communicate. So, you can rent a flexible coworking space that reduces distractions, promotes productivity, and offers several amenities. It also enables participants to step outside their comfort zones and become more confident. Coworkers tend to communicate freely with each other. So, these interactions make a meeting effective and successful.
3. Prepare yourself
Preparation ensures increased probability to ace the business meeting. On the other hand, failure to prepare for a conference might waste everyone’s time by not achieving the fundamental objectives. That’s why you should start preparing even before you’ve sent invitations for the meeting. Preparations display how committed you are to the agenda. It also prevents someone from catching you off-guard about a subject with which you’re unfamiliar.
4. Invite the right people
Effective meetings involve limited attendants. That’s why you shouldn’t conduct a conference with an unnecessary number of participants, since it drains the relevant attendants’ time and energy. It is best to make sure that you’re inviting only the most valuable and relevant people. Smaller meetings with the right experts are more successful than large gatherings. The other party hardly needs the presence of your entire team. Hence, send invitations only to the right people whose presence is indispensable.
5. Do your research
What shows your dedication to the other party’s cause in a business meeting? You should know about their company and industry, the issues they’re facing, queries of their niche, and relevant case studies. These factors help you ace a business meeting. Notably, your points should demonstrate to the other party that you’ve done your research beforehand. That’s why it’s essential to prepare a questionnaire that can add meaningful discussion in the meeting. Don’t include queries that add no real value to your business interests or eliminate the purpose of a corporate meeting.
Also, avoid issues that may bring complications for the other party. Questions can arise from the conversation topics, such that you can ask about budgetary matters and project management. Asking the right set of questions increases your chances to conduct an effective and successful business meeting.
6. Ensure punctuality
It’s unfortunate to learn that around 50% of face-to-face meetings start 5-10 minutes late. Punctuality is vital for the effectiveness of any business gathering. A lack of time-management skills may lead to the loss of a precious client. That’s why you must confirm timings and the location after considering significant reasons behind delayed meetings. These reasons include traffic troubles, public transport delays, and bad weather conditions. That’s why being there on time is essential to ace a business meeting.
7. Rely on technology
The technology allows you to conduct business meetings without any hassle that might interrupt normal conferences. Instead of taking notes via scribbling in your notebook, you should record a video of the entire meeting. You can upload this video on the cloud so everyone would have easy access to the agenda. However, don’t allow technology to become a distraction during an assembly. The mindless scrolling through entertaining notifications may prevent you from concentrating on your corporate guests. Your presence – both mental and physical – is needed by the other party. Hence, it is best to moderate the utilization of technology to ascertain an effective business meeting.
8. Allow some questions
Allow participants to ask questions (especially if it’s a webinar). Since queries awaken people, welcome creativity, and encourage them to interact with other attendants. These interactions make meetings effective and fruitful. Try to appear approachable and not intimidating. Appreciate all sorts of feedback from the other party.Also, try to support mutual discussions and productive conversations actively. It is best to summarize major points by the end of the meeting to end the conference successfully.
9. Don’t forget to follow up
Taking notes during/after a meeting is always preferable. Similarly, it’s important to share these notes with the other party for future follow-ups. Revisit the actions agreed upon during the meeting. Then delegate particular functions to different team members. Don’t forget to set realistic deadlines for the completion of the delegated operations. Evaluate everyone’s performance to assess the overall productivity of your team. Contact the other party to learn if you need to schedule a follow-up conference. Remember that follow-ups promise the accomplishment of all these ideas.
Stats show that managers attend over 60 meetings every month. But 25-50% of the meeting time gets wasted on late attendants and dozing-off participants. Moreover, the more meetings your workers will attend, the more exhausted they’ll get. So, it’s essential to conduct meetings only when it’s necessary. Also, try keeping the discussion short and relevant and ensure that everyone gets a fair opportunity to participate. It is worth mentioning that successful conferences enhance the attendants’ engagement and promote a surge of collaboration. Thus, ascertaining everyone’s participation may help in gaining detailed insights about the set plan, leading to a successful meeting.
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