Organising a work meeting involves careful planning to ensure it runs smoothly and all key messages are clear. Choosing the attendees, setting the goals, using the right materials, booking an appropriate room, online or in person…? There are many elements to consider when organising a meeting.
In this article, we share the 9 essential steps to help you organise the meeting.
1. Define the purpose of the meeting
Define precisely the goals of your meeting and the expected outcomes.
You can consider different types of meetings depending on the topic, the desired outcomes and the environment in which the meeting is to be held:
- Information meetings: The purpose of this type of meeting is to communicate one or more messages to the audience (progress of an order, feedback from a client, dates of an upcoming event, etc.).
- Exchange meetings: These are more formal meetings held periodically in project management, in which all parties actively participate to assess whether the project is progressing well.
- Emergency meetings: The aim is to find a way to solve a problem, manage a disagreement or break a deadlock. They can also be organised to announce important changes.
- Strategic meetings: They consist of making strategic decisions for the company (pivoting, launching a new product or service, hiring staff, defining the annual budget, etc.).
2. Invite the right people
Once the objective has been defined, identify and invite people with a role to play in the meeting and whose position is relevant to the discussion. It is also essential to make sure that those invited are available. Hence the next point: the choice of the date and time of the meeting.
3. Set the right date and time
Once the attendees have been identified, it is essential to set the date and time of the meeting. Of course, ensure that the meeting does not coincide with other important events.
As the meeting organiser, you will probably have access to the guests’ agendas. Depending on the type of meeting, choose an appropriate. For example, schedule a meeting at 9 a.m. on Monday morning if it is urgent. If you don’t have access to the agendas of the meeting attendees, do a quick survey to define the time that best suits everyone.
Finally, don’t forget to send reminders to attendees before the meeting to remind them of the date, time and place, as well as the topics to be discussed.
4. Online or in person?
Another critical point is to choose the venue for the meeting.
If it is a face-to-face meeting, the venue should be large enough to accommodate all attendees and equipped with everything necessary (projector, whiteboard, etc.). Opt for face-to-face meetings for strategic meetings, for example.
If you decide to hold the meeting online, don’t forget to attach the link to the meeting to your invitation so that everyone can participate. Remote meetings offer great flexibility to employees and are preferred for weekly updates or smaller meetings. Finally, you can also use online tools to organise webinars, whether open to the public or for your team, to present the latest balance sheet, for example.
5. Request confirmation of attendance
A few days before the meeting or after sending out the invitations, ask for confirmation of the presence of each participant. If it is a weekly or monthly meeting, try to keep the same place and time. This will make your work much more manageable.
6. Prepare an agenda
Before each meeting, prepare a detailed agenda. This should include the issues to be discussed, the presentations to be made, and the decisions to be taken. It is also essential to allow sufficient time to discuss each topic and enable participants to ask questions and comment. You can also assign different responsibilities to each person so they have time to prepare.
7. Communicate with participants beforehand
Prepare the necessary documents to share with participants. Before the meeting, ensure you share all relevant and helpful information with the participants: documents to print, PDFs to download, videos to present, etc.
8. Report and follow up on the next steps
At the end of the meeting, draft minutes summarising the issues discussed, decisions made, and tasks assigned. These minutes should be sent to the participants for their review.
9. Ask your team for feedback
To get constructive feedback on the meeting and see what worked and what didn’t, ask participants to give their opinion on the agenda, the duration, the venue, etc. This will help to improve future meetings.
Hint: read our article on collecting feedback after an event.
In conclusion, organising an effective work meeting requires careful planning, clear communication and continuous evaluation to ensure that objectives are met. Creating an environment where all participants feel comfortable sharing their ideas and collaborating is essential. The type and format of the meeting should be defined in advance to ensure that it runs smoothly.