Five Tips for Planning a Large Meeting
When planning a large meeting attention to detail will ensure a successful meeting. Below we've listed our five top tips to help in planning your meeting.
- The Purpose of the Meeting.
What's the purpose of your meeting? Have you set objectives or goals? It's important to put some thought into what the meeting needs to accomplish. Plan the meeting room layout to help you achieve your goals e.g. if you want staff engagement then a boardroom or a U shape layout maybe best.
- Decide on an Agenda.
It's important for every meeting to have an agenda. Without one meetings can overrun without achieving their objective. It's also all too easy for people to get off track onto topics that weren't planned. An agenda will help guide your meeting, telling you when to start, who will speak, what they will speak about, when to take a break, when to end and what objectives or decisions need to be made. You don't need to stick rigidly to the agenda but it will give you more control over the meeting.
- Keep the Meeting on Track.
To ensure you stay on track make sure everyone has a copy of the agenda. Refer to the agenda as you move from one topic to the next. In some cases you may have to tactfully steer people back to the agenda if they stray off topic. This may simply require a few words "let's take that up at a later date or let's schedule that idea for a later meeting". You may even have to schedule timings into your agenda so that you know whether you are on track to finish on time and to ensure no one part of your agenda overruns and ends up taking up all the meeting time.
- Make Sure Points are Clearly Understood.
You should take meeting notes so that you have a record of the meeting. It may sometimes help to give a summary or reiterate what's been discussed and agreed as you move through the agenda.
- End on a High Note.
Throughout your meeting you should be aiming for a positive atmosphere where attendees feel they can contribute and that ideas won't be shot down. Do this and your meeting is far more likely to generate new ideas or solutions to issues or problems. As well as keeping your meeting positive it's important to end your meeting on a high note. This can be achieved by celebrating success or praising a member of staff or a team that's had a great result. If you end a meeting on a positive note people are more likely to look forward to the next meeting and be more likely to contribute.
For these and other meeting room and conference room tips read the Booking Partners articles which cover planning a conference, going green with your next conference, effective ways of marketing your next conference and planning conference speakers.