Business meetings can be stressful places, full of alpha energy or pointless time wasters.  Making them interesting and beneficial is an art, and managing the personalities that take part can be like wresting a lion, so how do you get the most from them?  It’s not rocket science, but it does take a little thoughtfulness and planning.  Here are some basic rules to help you have positive meetings that are productive and a pleasure to attend.

Type of meeting
What is your intention? A meeting can take many different forms, so decide on it’s type. Are you team building, planning a project, brainstorming or maybe it’s a regular meeting that is for a specific department like a sales team meeting, a customer service review or a supply chain meeting. Do you need the attendees to be participants? If the answer is no, then perhaps your meeting should be an email. If you are just reporting facts then don’t waste other people’s time. Write a report and email it to all.

Write the title of your meeting on a board that stays visible throughout the whole meeting, or if you are showing a presentation have the title on each slide. If your title is also your objective it will signpost the way to reaching a good result.

It’s all in the name
Whatever the reason, it’s important to state this in the title, and add the intention along with it. For example if you are planning an exhibition, this could be a ‘brainstorming session’ at the beginning of the process or a ‘fine tuning’ meeting when things are near completion. If you call it Exhibition Planning Meeting every time. It will lose impact and attendees will feel that progress isn’t happening. By adding the intention to the main title each time, you will give the impression of advancement.

You can change people’s mindset before the meeting starts by using words that represent an action. This will help people to arrive in the right state of mind. Words like ‘quick’ and ‘fast’ will automatically make us speed up because our brains want to act out the words we hear, so naming a meeting with your objective like ‘creative meeting’ or ‘brainstorming session’ will subconsciously plant the goal into the mind of the participant, and they will turn up with the right attitude.

This is key because you need to be in control of the meeting from start to finish. Make a detailed agenda that has times allotted to each point. There is nothing worse than a strong personality hogging the talk time, and a good agenda can keep you on track and gives you permission to blame the plan rather than the annoying person. Just say.. “That’s a really good point, and I’d love to talk to you about it later, but the agenda really doesn’t give us time for that topic”, and hey-presto your back on track. The rest of the room will silently thank you too!

If you need to use technical equipment that’s new to you, have a practice beforehand. There’s nothing worse than fiddling with wires and calling the IT guys while everyone else is checking their watches and twiddling thumbs.

Some meeting scenarios don’t always need planning beforehand. If it’s a one on one meeting, or a quick check in with team members, you might want them to raise concerns and a plan isn’t necessary. Just being a good listener is what’s required here. However if you need to keep control then a plan of action will be your best friend.

Set the tone
If you want lots of participation, start with a joke or a quick comment about the traffic or today’s weather! Reveal something silly that happened to you in the supermarket, then tackle your agenda. Being open and informal will encourage the same kind of behaviour. Adding snacks could be another way to add informality to a meeting, and if your meeting is a regular occurrence you will get great attendance in future.

Alternatively if you have some delicate subjects to cover, being jovial won’t set the right atmosphere. Start in a formal way, and read out the agenda first, ask the room if they are happy to go ahead, and this puts you in charge. Stand up if you want extra authority, and invite speakers using specific questions that work in harmony with your agenda.

It makes sense to have a positive team talk at the start of the working day, and this could be true of most meetings. The worst time of day is 11am. Why? because it’s just before lunch and everyone will be thinking about what they are going to eat and be a little bad tempered because they are hungry. Studies have shown that magistrates dish out harsher sentences in court just before lunch, so keeping away from the ‘hangry’ times will mean happier participants. If the meeting really can’t be at any other time, provide snacks like biscuits or cakes so that people get a hit of energy.

Starting and finishing
Never wait for latecomers. It’s tempting to delay the start of a meeting if you don’t have full attendance, but if you stick to your guns and start bang on time, the late attenders will soon learn that they get left out, and will feel embarrassed to be sneaking in. Sometimes it can be a power play to arrive late, so keep control by always being early yourself and starting on the dot.

If the finish time is looming and you still have half the agenda to cover, resist the temptation to sit it out. Instead, conclude by providing a summary of what has been accomplished and express gratitude to everyone for their valuable input. You can also suggest making the final decision in a subsequent meeting or through email. By adhering to your allotted time, you will establish a positive reputation and impart a valuable lesson to attendees, encouraging them to be more concise in the future.

Top tip
If the purpose of your meeting is to dish out tasks and assign projects, consider grabbing a few pads of sticky post-it notes! Rather than solely relying on the minutes to document who is responsible for what, you can simply hand out a post-it every time someone volunteers or is assigned a task.

They can also serve as a means to write down the names of attendees, allowing you to strategically position them around the meeting table.

Always follow up
Write up the minutes and delegate tasks that were agreed upon as quickly as possible. People tend to forget what they’re supposed to do, so a quick reminder will definitely light a fire under them and get things moving.

Being organised and planning ahead will give you super confidence when planning your business meetings.

If you need to display any kind of data on a screen with a powerpoint consider how you present this. Don’t be tempted to write phrases as your audience will just read this to themselves and switch off your voice. Showing visuals only will engage the listener much more, so stick to graphs, photographs and metrics that back up your spoken words. Here at Xpert-technologies we have lots of great FinTech software that will help you run your businesses meetings and your business. Click this link to see for yourself… XPERT TECHNOLOGIES

Being super organised and planning ahead will give you a real confidence power-up! Picture your goals of clear agendas, sticking to schedules, everyone actively chiming in, and a respectful and focused vibe. By embracing an organized approach, you can create a playground for creativity, innovation, and getting things done.

Dive into the magic of structured meetings and unleash the full potential of your business, one amazing session at a time. Ready, set, meeting time!