As the organizer of a meeting, it’s imperative you ensure everything is prepared. Take the time to coordinate everything from the small stuff to the big items. Have you confirmed the room? Surprisingly, I attend meetings where the coordinator has failed to confirm the location.
Here is a list of 15 items you should also consider:
- Determine the number of people who will attend the meeting.
- Make sure to have handouts for all participants. Collate the handouts in advance.
- Make sure that everyone has your contact information. A business card in each packet will do the trick. However, include one page containing how meeting-goers can reach you with questions or comments.
- Plan who will receive the color materials. If you are promoting a product or a service, it’s best to have color copies for everyone.
- Make sure to have an agenda for the meeting. I recommend sending the agenda a few days in advance to make sure everyone is aware of the meeting topics.
- Call in advance to confirm you will have a projector. If you are using an Apple product (MacBook, iPad, and so on), bring the necessary adapters.
- Ascertain who are the key players in the meeting.
- Determine the right place for you to sit. You may want to avoid the head of the table because an influential person generally occupies this position.
- Are you planning to sit or stand? Sitting might work in some situations, but it’s best to stand up when you are presenting a topic by using a projector.
- Avoid intruding into one’s personal space. You want to maintain at least 18 inches separation from those in the meeting. Similarly, it’s best not to touch anyone. Keep a professional approach at all times.
- Let others know when questions can be asked. I have more successful meetings when participants can offer their input throughout the meeting, and not have to wait until the end.
- As the meeting coordinator, ensure that you stay on track. Avoid letting participants control the pace. If necessary, assign times to each topic. If a particular item requires more discussion, inform others that a new meeting might be necessary to address this issue.
- Observe the meeting participants to determine the level of interest. If someone is failing to pay attention, it’s probably because that person doesn’t belong in the meeting.
- When a question or comment is vague, make sure to re-state it, allowing everyone to have a clear understanding of the issue.
- Assign someone to compose meeting minutes. These minutes should also include action items. Meetings are more effective when issues are resolved, and when new problems or opportunities are assigned to the right individual.
Planning your meeting makes a big difference. Take the time to address all the issues you can control, such as the meeting time, location, notification of attendees, food, beverages, and so on. When the meeting begins, reinforce the importance of covering the agenda items. Once the meeting is over, inform everyone that the minutes are forthcoming. Finally, make sure to follow up with the individuals assigned action items.