5 Tips for Planning a Highly Effective Meeting

A Successful Meeting of Professionals at Vernon DownsPoorly run meetings are a point of contention in many organizations and companies. In fact, the ineffectiveness of meetings has become somewhat of a running joke among professionals in many industries.

Meetings that waste time and don’t accomplish anything have become so common that they’ve actually given all meetings a bad name.

But it’s important to recognize that not all meetings are – or have to be – ineffective. In fact, meetings are still a very powerful and productive tool for organizations. The trick is to make sure that the meetings are set up for success!

So how do you set up meetings that are sure to be successful? Here are a few key tips for planning highly effective meetings:

How To Plan a Successful Meeting

Want to be sure your upcoming meetings are productive and well-attended? Here are some tips to help you as you work through the planning process:

1. Reserve an Appropriate Venue

Where you host your meeting can have a profound impact on its success. If you’re in charge of planning the meeting, it is in your best interest to choose a venue that’s in a location that is convenient and easily accessible for all meeting attendees. The location should also be a destination that’s attractive for both business and pleasure, especially if people will be traveling from out of town to get there.

In addition to choosing a meeting destination that’s convenient and ideal for work and play, the venue you choose should have an appropriate space for your gathering. Figure out what technology you’ll need on hand, and decide what type of space will be most conducive to accomplishing what needs to be accomplished. You’ll also want to make sure that appropriate accommodations for out of town attendees are nearby.

Reserving the right venue is a key step to coordinating a highly effective meeting, no matter what industry you work in, so make sure to do your research and choose carefully.

2. Set Goals for The Meeting

Reasonable, achievable goals are hugely important to the success of a meeting. It’s very important to set goals for your meeting ahead of time, and be sure everyone attending the meeting is bought-in and willing to work towards those goals. You want to be sure that everyone in attendance is on the same page in terms of what needs to be accomplished as a result of the meeting.

It’s a good idea to set goals for an upcoming meeting well ahead of time, both so you can run them by key players and so you can use the established goals to guide the creation of your meeting agenda, in order to make sure your meeting stays on task.

3. Establish an Agenda

Having an agenda can completely transform a meeting! An agenda can be used to guide the meeting towards the goals that need to be accomplished, and it can be used to keep things on track when side conversations or tangents come up.

As the meeting coordinator, collaborate with other key players to determine what should be included on the meeting agenda. This should be done during the meeting planning stage, with sufficient time left to share the agenda with all meeting attendees well ahead of the event. Be flexible when it comes to adjusting the agenda if necessary, but don’t be tempted to stuff more into the meeting than you can reasonably fit.

On the day of the meeting, do your very best to stick to the meeting agenda. Getting sidetracked can undermine the productivity of your meeting.

4. Send Out Reminders to Attendees

People have very busy schedules, so it’s important for you to stay on top of things – and help other meeting attendees to stay on top of things as well!

If you want to make sure people attend the meeting, send them periodic reminders about the meeting on a regular basis. Inform them about the meeting well ahead of time, then remind them again shortly before the meeting is going to take place. This will help to ensure that all key players are in attendance, which is a huge win when it comes to ensuring that your meeting is as productive and effective as possible.

In addition to reminding attendees about the meeting itself, be sure to send out an update if anything about the meeting changes (time, place, expectations, etc.). You want to make sure everyone is in the loop, fully informed, and ready to be productive as soon as the meeting gets underway – especially if you have a packed agenda and some lofty goals set to accomplish. You don’t want to waste precious time getting some people up to speed.

5. Show Up Early

As the meeting coordinator, plan to arrive at the meeting space first, well before anyone else on the day of the event. You’ll want to have plenty of time to make sure that everything is in place and set up for the meeting to go smoothly – and to rectify anything that may need to be handled before other meeting attendees start arriving. Leave yourself plenty of extra time so that if things are awry, you have time to handle them so they will not impact the meeting itself.

Additionally, you’ll want to be sure you’ve done whatever you can to make those attending the meeting feel welcome and comfortable. Setting up the space and creating a hospitable environment can help to set the tone and atmosphere for a productive meeting.

BONUS: Follow Up After The Meeting

This may not be a meeting planning tip per se, but it’s still hugely important when it comes to successful meetings. Once your meeting has taken place, be sure to follow up with attendees soon afterwards with a summary of the meeting, information about the goals that were accomplished, and details about any action items that still need to be completed. Do this shortly after the meeting so that things are still fresh in attendees’ minds.

Following up is key to maintaining the momentum that was generated during the meeting, and is a great way to continue collaborative work towards a goal even after the meeting has concluded.

Make Your Next Meeting a Highly Effective One!

Meeting planning can be overwhelming, especially knowing how skeptical many people are about the effectiveness of meetings in this day and age. If you’re hoping to wow attendees with your next corporate gathering, be sure to keep these tips in mind as you’re working through the planning process.

Looking for some help when it comes to planning an effective, productive meeting in New York State? We’d be happy to provide it.

From helping you choose an attractive and appropriate venue to guiding you through the planning process, New York Meeting is your one-stop resource for everything related to NY meetings. Request an RFP today and find out how we can assist you in putting together a highly effective meeting!

Looking for some resources to help you get started with planning an upcoming meeting in New York? Be sure to check these out:

19 Amazing New York State Meeting Venues: Explore a number of the unique meeting and event venues throughout our beautiful state.

Top 5 Reasons to Host Your Next Meeting in New York State: Find out why New York State is a great place to host your next meeting or corporate event.

The Step by Step Process of Planning a Meeting In New York State: Learn more about what to expect if you work with New York Meetings to plan your next meeting or event.