Hosting a productive meeting in today’s sound-byte culture can be a challenge. Losing the focus of your intended meeting can be as simple as a noisy ceiling fan or lack of appropriate supplies. If you want to have the best chance at a productive and efficient meeting you have to make sure that you do a small amount of preparation beforehand. It’s also a good idea to get the feedback of your participants so that you can improve for your next meeting. Here are 5 tips to help you get started on hosting the most efficient and constructive meeting for your company.
The Right Type of Seating
Using tables that are small and round can foster collaboration and offer more flexibility than no tables at all or classroom-style seating. If you plan to use a projector some participants may have to adjust their seating but if you have the tables set up appropriately it shouldn’t be too inconvenient. If you don’t have access to round tables it’s a good idea to encourage participants to sit in circular groups when its time to collaborate.
If you don’t plan to have your participants collaborate it’s still a good idea to have tables and comfortable seating so that your participants can take notes and have ample room to write or type. Adequate seating space is essential because there is nothing more distracting than constantly brushing up against your neighbor while trying to concentrate.
This is particularly important if your meeting is going to run a little long. Having access to a cup of coffee, bottled water, or an apple can really help your participants stay focused. Being able to take a few moments to have a drink or a small snack can be the difference between a productive meeting and a flop.
Take a Break
This is along the same lines as refreshments. You should give your participants a short break at least every hour and a half, especially if your meeting is going to be more than two hours. Paying attention in a long meeting, especially one that has a lot of content to be covered in a short amount of time, can be difficult for anyone. A short break will help your participants feel refreshed and able to refocus on the task at hand.
If you want your participants to take notes it’s a good idea to make sure you have all the supplies they’ll need on hand. Most people today have a smart phone or tablet and don’t carry pens and paper, so if they will need anything for your meeting it’s best to provide it for them. If you’ll have handouts it’s helpful to have staplers and highlighters available so that your participants can stay organized.
Once the meeting is completed make sure that you ask for feedback from your participants. This type of feedback is the best way to assess where you can improve and where things went well. If the seating was uncomfortable or their weren’t enough supplies or refreshments you’ll be able to find out through your participants feedback. An anonymous feedback sheet is the best way to accomplish this but just be sure you provide enough sheets for everyone and have enough pens handy as well.
Hosting a productive meeting shouldn’t be difficult but even minor details can easily derail its effectiveness. Taking the time to make sure you’ve scheduled enough breaks, you have appropriate supplies and seating, and get appropriate feedback can be the difference between your next meeting being a failure or a prolific success.