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Meeting Hints and Advice: Planning

Meeting planning must be detailed and extensive if large meetings or events are to be successful and productive. Many people who work in organizations or companies where meetings are frequent understand how inefficient meetings can be if not planned properly. They can drag on interminably, lose focus and jump from topic to topic, or allow endless discussion that fails to produce a decision or consensus. When meetings are planned and organized, they can be a very effective way to do business because they bring many different minds and perspectives into one place. Brainstorming is facilitated or questions can be answered by the experts who are present. Meeting planning is not as difficult as it may seem.

Meeting Planning 101

Meeting planning is simple if the meeting is a small, informal gathering of business associates within a particular department, division, or company. For these types of meetings, the crucial elements of planning are scheduling the date and time, ensuring that all the necessary people can attend, and creating an efficient agenda. Typically, there will not be more than twenty or so people in these small meetings, so discussion is easily facilitated. However, a potential problem for these small meetings is the tendency to get distracted and lose focus since everyone knows each other and there is a greater feeling of familiarity.

The meeting planning process for large events is much different. There are additional components that must be considered and addressed, and the needs of more people must be cared for. Choosing the location with the appropriate facilities is an important first step. Make sure that it is large enough to accommodate the expected number of people with ease. If your meeting will have different speakers presenting simultaneously, you will need to look for a venue that can offer you multiple conference rooms.

The purpose of your meeting is the next big thing to conquer. Make sure that you formulate and clearly state a specific goal for your meeting. People's time is valuable and they do not want to waste it by attending a meeting where the leader is unfocused and seems to have no sense of purpose. Create a detailed agenda showing exactly what will be covered at the meeting and adhere to it strictly. This will not only help your attendees be better prepared for their participation in the meeting, but it will also help prevent tangential discussions and distractions. If the meeting agenda is followed, it is likely that the meeting will end when scheduled, which is one mark of a successful meeting.

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