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Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Meetings

What's next on your to do list?  Oh yeah.......plan tomorrow's morning meeting that you just found out about 5 minutes ago.  It's 4:30 PM and you've got to pick the kids up by 5:30 PM.  What do you do?

At the end of the day when we are ready to leave, the last thing most of us want to do is go into scramble mode and when we do, it's easy for things to get overlooked.  Below are some suggestions to help you get it done and avoid some of the biggest problems with planning and executing meetings.  Think of it as a double-check.

(Many of you have lots of experience with this, so please let us know what else you'd add to the checklist to avoid problems and ensure your meetings run smoothly!)
  1. Attendees
    1. Do you know who needs to attend?  If not, get a list from the person calling the meeting.  If you do, check this one off.
    2. Have attendees received prior notice about the meeting or will this be new to them?  Send them an email and consider alternate ways to contact them if they haven't responded to your email before you leave the office for the day.
  2. Resources
    1. Will A/V equipment be required for the meeting?  If so, set it up BEFORE you leave the office so it's one less thing you have to worry about in the morning.
    2. Do information packets need or other documents need to be distributed to the attendees?  Having those ready to go or at least partially ready will give you a head start when you arrive the next day.
    3. Is the conference room you need available?  If so, schedule it.  If not, determine the best alternative.  Do you need to meet offsite due to the size of group?  (That will obviously take a lot more of your time 
  3. Food and Beverage
    1. Should food and beverage be provided for the morning meeting?  It usually depends on the time of the meeting, length of the meeting and the company's culture.  If the answer is no, it's always good to make sure you have coffee and water available for attendees.  If you are providing food, here are some consideration.
      1. Does the meeting warrant a heartier meal (long meeting starting early) or would lighter fare (continental with coffee and juice) suffice?
      2. Are you going to pick up the food or have it delivered?
      3. What is our budget target?
    2. Once you determine the answers regarding your food needs, time to find the place.  Make sure that you can easily get your receipt from the caterer (especially important if you aren't there for the meeting), that they are dependable and responsive if there are any issues.  Keeping your hungry colleagues waiting can hurt meeting productivity!