Wondering How To Handle Your Next Business Meeting? Here Are the Fundamental Guidelines
These days, more than ever, managers and employees engage in business meetings – let’s discuss some of the best practices in order to achieve really beneficial conversations.
Years ago only the upper management went to meetings. To the employees, this activity looked bizarre, an almost cult-like endeavor where secrets were whispered and plans were drawn ahead. Of course, much like with anything else, the way we do business has changed tremendously – today even the employees are frequent attendees to a meeting with their leader or manager.
Surely enough, holding a meeting has proven to be a great way for the employees to keep themselves on track as well as to actively participate in the entire decision-making process. With this being said, it’s actually quite important for any leader or manager out there to be able to conduct an excellent meeting that can fulfill everybody’s needs.
Frequently we hear about employees’ complaints regarding how useless they thought their last meeting was. Of course, our mission is to try our best to avoid such an unfortunate way of things happening and to offer our employees a meeting that allows them to feel heard and seen, as well as their propositions taken into consideration.
In today’s article, I’d like to offer my experience in terms of conducting a meeting: let’s discuss all the fundamentals that will help you organize an event that everyone will find helpful and worth attending.
What should business meetings be all about?
I believe business meetings nowadays have much to do with the transformational leadership approach and its peaking popularity among managers and leaders.
At its core, the transformational leadership approach preaches inspiration, fulfillment, proactivity, and readiness to hear what everybody else has to say. It’s the pivotal leadership approach in the last several years, especially in startups and enterprises that focus on more direct and communication-driven professional relationships, both between the company and its employees and the company and its clients.
With that being said, it’s only natural to conclude that the majority of modern enterprises and managers who stick to this approach prefer conducting and attending frequent meetings so that they can make sure that everybody’s aligned and on the same page.
Plus, when in a meeting, everybody can offer opinions and ideas – that’s essential for establishing a certain level of teamwork.
So, without any further ado, let’s discuss what some of the best practices are when it comes to organizing a meeting that will easily serve its purpose.
Business meeting fundaments: how to plan and organize a discussion
If you let chaos kick right in, I have bad news – there’s a big chance your meeting will not turn out to be the way you expected. So you definitely need structure, purpose, and certain know-how.
- define the purpose of your meeting – whenever you decide to conduct a business meeting, you most certainly need a purpose. Set a theme and let the attendees know in advance what the entire discussion will be all about. This way they can prepare questions and propositions in advance. This also helps you to navigate the entire meeting and set structure, avoiding chaos to kick in and ruin the entire get-together. My advice is to pick no more than two topics per meeting – risking the meeting getting prolonged increases the chances of the audience losing interest and focus.
- begin with getting the team familiar with the concept of the meeting’s purpose and rely on strong evidence and facts that support the main thesis – of course, later on, you can all engage in brainstorming, but at the very beginning, you need to lay some grounds. This brings clarity and additional information that is much-needed.
- try to include people that can actually contribute to the meeting’s purpose – as much as you wish the entire team of employees to attend, the better option is to limit the meeting to only those who can further develop the end decisions and conclusions in advance. Letting many people attend can easily result in chaos and drifting away from the initial topic.
- be strict with the meeting’s specifics – share in advance how long will the meeting take and try to stick to those hours. Let your attendees know whether it will be a workshop, a seminar, an open discussion, a brainstorming event, etc. This will help them tune in. If the meeting will be held online, share in advance whether the participants should be on camera – don’t just expect everyone to be ready and willing to tune in with their faces if not told so specifically.
- always be willing to listen to what everybody has to say – a meeting’s main goal is to create a discussion. After you finish with your expose, you should encourage everyone to offer opinions and ideas. Usually in discussions like this, the best decisions emerge.
- at the end of the sessions, always leave room for questions – it may seem that everything’s clear, but you should always give the participants the opportunity to ask about everything that interests them. This is a great way for you to receive feedback and to be sure that you all are on the same page.
- you can always ask for additional feedback – send a survey or ask the participants to evaluate how the meeting went. This will give you a great idea about how things went and what you can do in the future to further improve and develop your meetings.
To sum things up
Having business meetings is a great way to keep the conversation going between the management and the employees. The meetings also help the employees feel being taken into consideration and their opinions being taken into account.
In reality that’s a very democratic way for anyone to run their company and teams. I’m a firm believer in the power of mutual work and discussions – try it out and you’ll soon witness its many benefits.