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Effective Corporate Meetings




Having an effective meeting can seem like an elusive dream. We have probably all sat through meetings that seemed to drag on forever, had little focus, or left us feeling as though nothing was accomplished. This can be a major loss for a company and for the people attending the meeting. It reduces collective productivity when people are pulled away from their work to a meeting that falls flat on and proves unproductive. This scenario ultimately frustrates employees and can breed discontent when the experience becomes the norm rather than the exception. The different facets of a single meeting or extended company event are varied but event planners must get them right in order to facilitate a positive experience for all involved. Here are some simple steps to make your meetings effective and expedient.

Step #1 Spending time on the front end: If you're running the meeting, it's important to ask yourself several important questions. Does everyone on the list really need to attend? If a simple email or phone call briefing them afterwards would suffice, then don't waste their time. Spend a little extra time fleshing out your agenda and exactly what you need to cover and have prompts to push the discussion forward. Everyone should walk away with their actions items and quickly review these decisions to ensure everyone is on the same page. This will make the meeting more focused and productive. Plan the meeting for half the time you originally needed and try to stick to this time. Then going a little over the new end time won’t hurt the day as badly as if you went over the originally scheduled end time.

Step #2 Start on time: Don't punish the people who show up promptly by waiting for stragglers. Start right on time for when you planned and meeting participants will adjust. Furthermore, people will appreciate the fact that the meeting start time is kept in place.

Step #3 Pick the right space: If you're having a big meeting then finding the right corporate event venue is vital. You don't want it to be so small that people feel jammed together, but too large and people will feel distant and distracted. Make sure the location you pick also has easy access to bathrooms and places for people to run to during breaks if they're thirsty or hungry.

Step #4 Have appropriate breaks: If your meeting is one that is long enough that it requires breaks, pick an appropriate amount of time. If it's too short people won't feel like it's a break and if it's too long they'll get distracted and have a hard time refocusing once back in the room. For longer meetings, 20 minutes is a good amount of time for people to get a snack or something to drink or to stretch their legs and chat for a few minutes with colleagues. For shorter meetings, a multiple 5-10 minute breaks can be enough.

Step #5 Use relevant technology: If you can improve the flow and functionality of your meeting by adding technology like tablets to it then by all means do so. This can help people follow along and also explain their suggestions or thoughts at times. However, just because you might have the technology available doesn't mean you're required to use it. Sometimes too much technology can serve as a distraction and slow the meeting down.

So remember to do the extra bit of work at the frontend of your meeting in order to reduce a lot of wasted time on the back end. People will appreciate and respect your efforts and it will help the company as a whole.
 
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