A meeting to plan: where to start?

19 January 2021 | Temps de lecture : 6 min.

Do you have a meeting to set up? The mission may seem easy, but it's not necessarily so! Indeed, the success of a meeting is prepared conscientiously. To make sure you succeed in this task and don't make any mistakes, it is important to follow a clear process so that you don't miss anything. At Eventdrive, we know how stressful the situation can be, which is why we have decided to present you with all the steps to follow in order to successfully organize your next meeting.

The steps to follow when you have a meeting to plan

Going through a brainstorming phase

The first essential step when you have a meeting to organize is to start with a brainstorming phase. Either alone if you are the only organizer, or with your teams. Keep in mind that it is always better to confront your ideas with at least 1 person.

The objective? Finding solutions that will allow you to give a direction to the planning of your meeting.

This reflection phase will notably allow you to set up the structure of the meeting by highlighting the needs and expectations of the client.

Define the objectives of the meeting

Secondly, it is important to have clear and defined objectives for your meeting to be organized. What is the purpose of this meeting? Why do you need to organize it? What are the ins and outs? Well, you get the idea.

It is important to write these objectives down on paper and not just have them in mind. You can then follow up on the agenda with the items to be discussed during the meeting, but also estimate how long the meeting will take.

An IFOP survey conducted in 2015 found out that the attention span decreases after an average of 52 minutes of meeting time. It is therefore advisable to favour meetings of 1 hour maximum for maximum productivity. Of course, it all depends on the agenda. It is important to take into account that an online meeting will tend to keep less of the participants' attention.

Choosing the participants

Once the objectives have been defined, it is time to move on to the participants. Who are you going to invite? Are you going to use external auditors? The aim is not to invite as many people as possible, but only those who are relevant and who can bring added value.

The aim is to encourage the sharing of information and facilitate the dissemination of new ideas. To achieve this, it is necessary to select participants who will be effective, relevant and good speakers.

Keep in mind that, generally speaking, the fewer people invited to a meeting, the more effective the collaboration between participants will be. It is much easier to speak to a group of 5 people than it is to speak to a group of 30...

Choose a place and date

The foundations have been laid. It is now necessary to set a date for this meeting. At the same time, it is of course necessary to find the place where it will take place. Just like a meeting room, it is just as necessary to carefully choose your virtual, hybrid and face-to-face event management platform.

As far as the location is concerned, you can first look at the rooms available internally, especially if it is a small committee meeting. For more originality, and depending on the budget, you can also look at the meeting rooms available externally. Coworking areas often offer dedicated rooms, but you can also look at conference centres or hotels.

Concerning online meetings, our advice is to give priority to natural lighting that will not tire the eyes of the participants and will avoid unwanted reflections. In addition, good microphones and a quiet environment are essential for a meeting to take place in good conditions. Remember to isolate yourself to avoid noise pollution and check your internet connection to avoid any bandwidth problems. 

It is also important to consider hybrid meetings, and so provide a sound and video system so the online participants can be included in the meeting. The challenge here is to enable both parties to be able to hear, see and above all understand each other. Let's not forget that the main objective of your meeting is to convey your message effectively. 

When choosing the schedule, try to select a time slot where all your participants will be available, as much as possible. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to have access to everyone's schedule in advance. In these cases, it is always a good idea to anticipate and schedule the meeting at least 2 to 3 weeks later to hope to gather as many people as possible.

Slots in the early afternoon, when productivity is minimal, are also avoided.  Digestion is a process that consumes a lot of energy...

Prepare the necessary material

D-Day's almost here. But before that, we need to make sure that all the necessary equipment is available.

If you have to share your screen, make sure all the settings are completed before you start your meeting to avoid a waste of precious time. Whether you're talking about a video projector, webcam, flipcharts or just paper and pencils, you have to make sure you have everything you need for the big day.

Make sure you contact the meeting leader, check which media he or she uses (PPT, Excel...) and whether he or she needs any particular material for his or her presentation. 

When preparing the necessary material, be as proactive as possible and try to anticipate your clients' needs and respond to them in just a few minutes on the day of the meeting. 

It would be a good idea to advise your participants to anticipate something to eat or drink before starting the meeting, especially if your meeting is in the morning tea or coffee would be welcome. You can also suggest breaks to allow everyone to rest their eyes and breathe some fresh air before resuming.

Communicate the agenda to participants

Now that everything is in place, it's time to pass on the meeting agenda to your participants. Of course, you will have taken the time to send out an invitation as soon as the time and location have been set.

Here, we are talking about the agenda with a reminder of the points that will be discussed during the meeting. It can be a good thing to remind you of the objectives of the meeting and thus put all the participants in a position to optimize the time during the meeting.

It is advisable to send this reminder a few days before the meeting date to make sure that everyone has the event in mind on the day of the meeting.

You've got it, you have to think of everything when you have a meeting to plan! Take the time to devote yourself entirely to each step so that you don't forget anything. Anticipation is the key to successful work, but beware, haste can often turn everything upside down! By following our step-by-step advice, you should have no problem organizing a meeting that will please all your participants!

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