Feeling anxious about an upcoming business meeting? So many things to discuss and so little time? If that’s the case – we totally empathize with you! This is why we’ve prepared a list of practices that will help to organize productive meetings.
What are the rules for conducting a meeting?
1 It is very important to have a clear structure in mind before the start of your business meeting.
You can make a table of contents and put it in your slides or draw a simple schema on a whiteboard. Whichever way you prefer, the most important thing is that everyone knows what is going to happen and when.
2 Keep everything brief and concise.
Sounds so obvious and simple to do, yet very few of us follow this advice!
Limit individual speeches to 1-2 minutes. Meetings are NOT supposed to be individual pitches or monologues.
Also, when you share your opinion – move straight to the point. “Time is money” – they say. Remember that and don’t waste time on minor details, that everyone will forget immediately.
That’s not it… a well-planned meeting should take about 30-45 minutes. If your meeting is too long, you’ll only tire people and make them lose their attention. If you want to know why – read this article about the magic of 30 minutes meetings.
3 Don’t abuse PowerPoint and similar tools.
If you need to present something, remember, that slides are meant to be your visual aid.
Very often we see that people take it too far and put large chunks of text in their slides. What’s even worse is that they simply read the text off the slides!
Slides should include as little text as possible. Focus on visuals: pictures, graphs, tables, etc.
Here is an article that describes how to create appealing PowerPoint presentations.
4 You also need to summarize the content of your business meeting.
You can choose the old-fashioned way and take notes with pen & paper. Alternatively, you can record your meeting and transcribe it with Amberscript. Although transcribing provides a much detailed record, don’t cross out note-taking just yet!
A transcript is a document that captures the content of the whole meeting, while your notes will be your main take-home messages. Not only that, but speech overlap and noise (usual problems of group meetings) make it hard for software to recognize words.
That’s where your notes are going to be helpful to make adjustments to your transcript or recover any lost information.
More Advice to Keep Your Business Meeting Effective
5 Don’t invite too many people.
More people doesn’t mean that more things will get done. Let’s take a real-life example. You’ve probably noticed, that when working in a team of 2-3 people- you’re all engaged in a discussion and follow along with each other.
Now, what if you would be working with 10 people? Groupthink would be inevitable, individual performance would go down and responsibilities would become less clear.
The same logic applies to business meetings. If you want a discussion, where everyone participates and shares his opinion – you can use the “2 Pizza Rule”.
This rule was endorsed by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. It states that if a team can’t be fed with 2 pizzas – then the size of a team should be reduced. Of course, that oversimplifies real-life cases, but you get the idea. When possible, organize a meeting among 5-8 people.
6 Play the game.
You can play Phone Stack: the rules are simple. You gather all the smartphones at a certain place in the room. Whoever takes his/ her phone first, must order food & drinks for everyone.
This game is usually played in restaurants, but a meeting is also a social activity! This is a great method to demotivate people to distract on their phones, instead of following the meeting.
7 Create online votes.
Use Shakespeak! It’s very simple to set up, keeps your audience engaged and in case the subject is controversial – all votes can be made anonymously. Not to mention that it integrates with PowerPoint, so you can also create a vote right in your slides.
8 Prepare a follow-up message for all who attended.
First, thank everyone for their effort and participation.
Second, share your notes or transcripts with your colleagues. It will not only ensure that everyone’s on the same page, but will also serve as an additional reminder to work on things, discussed during the meeting.
Lastly, you can use some of the existing templates to send your follow-up emails. Take a look at some examples, provided by HubSpot.
We hope that you’ve picked up some nice tips that will help you organize effective business meetings. Good luck!