Planning effective meetings has become somewhat of a bugbear in recent years, our working days filled back-to-back with meetings, all of which tend to go on a lot longer than necessary, and probably could have been resolved much quicker via email. So when they really are necessary, how do we get the most from them?

1. Stop and Think

Before you arrange the meeting, take a second to consider, could this be easily done over a conference call or even email chain? If so, stop right now. However, if it’s time for a meeting read on ahead. While you’re planning, why not consider booking a meeting room using our tool YourMeeting?

2. Planning is Key

Now think about what you aim to achieve out of the meeting. Once you’ve decided on the outcome you hope for, work backwards from this and decide what you need to do/discuss in your meeting to get the desired outcome. This can then form as part of an agenda for the meeting.

3. Be Prepared

If you’re the invitee rather than the meeting planner, then make sure you come prepared! Remember that you’ve been invited for a reason, and so make sure you have something worthwhile to contribute.

4. Stick to The Script

During your meeting make sure you follow the agenda. If the discussion starts to go slightly off topic, as the meeting organiser, do your best to rein it back and keep your colleagues on track. Don’t forget about the desired outcome of the meeting, and try to ensure you’re all working towards that goal.

5. Put Away Other Distractions

To really make the most of your meeting, we recommend making sure all other distractions – laptops, email notifications, mobile phones – are out of sight! Make sure everyone in the room is focused on the task in hand. Not only does this ensure everyone to feel as though their colleagues respect and are listening to them, but it also can help maintain the flow of your meeting.

6. Keep it succinct

It’s well-known that humans now have incredibly short attention spans – reported to be as low as around 8 seconds! – so we recommend keeping your meeting as short as possible. Whilst 8 seconds isn’t enough time to get anything worthwhile completed in, by keeping your meeting to around an hour max, you’ll find it easier to hold your colleague’s attention and ultimately get the best result from your meeting.

7. Finish with action points

One of the most important parts of a meeting are the action points which come out of it – so don’t let these go by undocumented! Get into the habit of having a round-up at the end of your meetings, to assess who will do what going forward, and ideally a time frame for these action points. It’s also a good idea to email these to any meeting attendees afterwards to, so that they can’t be forgotten!

Here’s to more successful and productive meetings! If you’re organising a meeting in another city or even country, or you want to book your meeting in a location which is easy to access for all of your attendees, have you considered booking a room with YourMeeting? We have access to over 125,000 meeting spaces in over 137 countries, so you’re sure to find something.