How to Plan a Meeting

It is essential to carefully plan your meeting in order for it to be effective. Taking the time to plan and make sure all necessary elements are in place will help the meeting to succeed, and give all the information the appropriate amount of coverage. Here are five essential steps to planning an effective meeting.

  1. Determine the purpose. There are many reasons to have a business meeting: reviewing a budget, coming up with sales goals, introducing a new promotion, or a combination of all three. Once you know the purpose of the meeting, you can determine who needs time on the agenda. You should also determine the size venue you need for the meeting. A conference room may be enough room, or you may need to schedule a bigger room depending on the purpose of the meeting.
  2. Pinpoint the details. When choosing presenters, be clear on what you expect them to cover and why. While doing this, check to see what type of audio-visual equipment (such as a projector) or other things they may need during the presentation. Once you have done this, go ahead and schedule the necessary equipment. Organize catering or gift bags for the meeting. If the meeting is about a new product promotion, a gift bag helps to get employees excited about the product. Planning a light snack of bagels or a lunch in conjunction to the meeting can also be a morale booster.
  3. Spread the word. Announce the time and the place of the meeting to all employees who are expected to attend. Setting up an automatic email reminder can save time. The reminder should go out one day prior to give employees time to see it. If you have an RSVP requirement, you can begin creating your RSVP list now as well. One efficient way to keep track of RSVPs is by using a spreadsheet.
  4. Finalize the agenda. Talk to each presenter and double check on availability and time. Double check on necessary audio visual items and troubleshoot any time or scheduling problems. Checking with the venue of the meeting, especially if it is off site, is a good idea. Once the agenda is finalized, email it to those attending the meeting. If it is a big conference, preparing copies of the agenda to hand out may be appropriate.
  5. Wrap up the details. Prepare any handouts or other items needed for individuals attending the meeting. Verify that the gift bags are completed and the food services will arrive on time and are correct. These items should be done the day before to help the meeting run smoothly. Be sure to follow the planned agenda to ensure an efficient, timely meeting.