As pointed out in an earlier post, it is worth thinking twice before scheduling a meeting and preferable to first consider whether the meeting is really necessary. When you do arrange a meeting, make sure it is as productive as possible.
1. Be clear about what you want to achieve. This could be one of the following objectives: To share information with a group; to take a decision; to get commitment for an idea or project; to brainstorm ideas; to solve a problem; to network; to sell an idea, product or service; to introduce a new member of staff. This will also help you to be clear about who to invite.
2. Prepare an agenda and distribute it beforehand. This might sound obvious but is often ignored. An agenda delivers the structure to the meeting and helps people prepare and check that they have completed any actions from previous meetings. Typically, an agenda should have the following elements: A title; date, time and location; who is invited; discussion points with names of the person responsible for each point; any other business.
3. Begin on time and end on time. Starting a meeting late sends the message that it is ok to be late, and is annoying for those who arrived on time. Ending late can cause problems for those having to dash off to other commitments.
4. Control overbearing individuals so that each participant has a chance to contribute and feel involved.
5. Provide drink and food. Offering tea, coffee, water and a little snack of cake and fruit is more thatn a small act of kindness, it also makes people feel welcome and often more energized and motivated.