Planning a meeting is a task itself. Emailing back and forth, having to deal with last-minute changes, and not being sure exactly what to include in the agenda – the list goes on. At the same time, your plan is essential for your meeting. With a good plan, your meeting achieves its objectives. Without it, there’s no guarantee that your team will achieve what you set out to do.

This page examines how meetings are structured in a formal manner. It explores how good preparation and an effective chairperson may contribute to the success of a meeting, giving a sense of direction or purpose to the team. You’ll learn exactly how to make meeting planning a hassle-free process. Read on to get our step-by-step guide and start planning better meetings.

What kind of meeting you’re planning?

Before you start planning your meeting, you need to define the type of meeting that you’re planning. Because every meeting has a different objective, it’s important that you do this. Only then can you plan a meeting that achieves that objective.

Information sharing meetings These are meetings where you pass on more general information to the participants through seminars, keynotes, and panel debates.

Innovation meetings are needed to make use of everyone’s creative juices. Here, you brainstorm or share ideas with your team members.

Team building meetings This meeting type is important for your organization. This way, you build your culture and help your team work better together.

Decision-making meetings include meetings where you brainstorm solutions, solve problems, and map out the information that’s available to you.

Status update meetings. The main goal of this meeting type is to share updates on the project to keep your team on top of what’s decided.

Plan your meeting

Now that you have a better idea of what your meeting will look like, you can start planning it. First up is your attendee list.

Create an attendee list there’s one rule you make sure to follow when you’re compiling your attendee list

Make it short

If there are too many people in the meeting room, there’s a risk that the meeting will get derailed. That’s why only those who are truly needed should attend the meeting.

Create your attendee list based on the following criteria:

  • The attendee is indispensable for the meeting; the meeting could not take place without him or her.
  • The attendee has a clear role at the meeting.
  • The attendee is in a key position to help you achieve the objectives you set out for your meeting.

Only include attendees who fulfill these criteria. And don’t worry about coming off as impolite if you don’t invite someone to your meeting. In the end, the meeting would be a waste of time for that person.

Schedule the meeting

When you schedule your meeting, you should consider, When do you hold your meeting and how long should it be?

Scheduling your meeting can be a real hassle. Think never-ending back and forth emailing to find that perfect time slot. You can use different tools like Meeting Wise to make things smoother

It might be tempting to schedule a long meeting to be on the safe side. Obviously, there’s no ideal length – everything depends on your individual needs.

But it’s much better to keep your meeting short and not schedule a long meeting. After all, you’ll use up the time you scheduled, and longer meetings tend to be a waste of everyone’s time. A recommended meeting length is 15 minutes. In any case, the meeting should be no longer than 30 minutes.

Plan the agenda

Planning an actionable and specific agenda is key for holding an effective meeting. But how do you plan an agenda?

Good question. Here’s what every agenda item should include

  • Topic – what’s being discussed? Explain in detail so that everyone’s on the same page.
  • Presenter/owner – who’s responsible for the topic? Who should present it?
  • Time – how much time are you allotting to each topic?
  • Purpose – is the purpose to make a decision, seek input for a decision, or to share information?
  • Process – what steps will you take to make a decision? Suggest the approach you want your team to take to tackle a problem.

Consult your team members when you decide on each agenda item. And, if you decide not to include an agenda item, make sure that you explain why to them.

Location and Amenities

In terms of location, remember that the work environment has a major impact on your productivity. If you have the possibility to do so, use a meeting room with as much natural light as possible.

In terms of amenities, you need to take a look at the goal of your meeting. What amenities do you need to achieve that goal? Tech equipment? A whiteboard? Something else? It’s worth noting that something as simple as water can help your team make better decisions by increasing their productivity.

Decide on a budget

Do you really need to decide on a budget for simple team meetings with the objective to decide on a specific project? not necessarily.

Your budget depends on what kind of meeting you’re planning. What you should consider when creating a budget is what the goal of this meeting is. Will you make a profit, which might be the case if you’re organizing a seminar or conference? Or do you need to allocate a budget for some other purpose, e.g. because you’re inviting an outside speaker to your organization?

Conclusion

That’s it – you now know how to plan a meeting. Put what you’ve learned into practice. Soon enough, you’ll have made a routine out of planning your meetings.

A meeting plan that’s clearly structured and easy to act on. Your team members will have a much easier time to make the most of every meeting and make meaningful decisions.

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