It is a meeting among various stakeholders of a business partnership that lays foundation for their future transactions. It gives every party a clear direction, allows them to establish achievable business goals, makes them aware of the important deliverables, and helps towards establishing long-lasting relationship among them. However, if the same business meeting wasn’t organized properly, all the plans, ambitions and objectives could be badly sabotaged.
It is important to understand that a well-organized and well-planned meeting is very crucial for both organizational success and profitable business transaction. Whether it is an intra-organizational meeting or an inter-organizational, productivity should be the most significant outcome of it.
When it comes to collaborating with various stakeholders, a great deal of discussion and communication is of paramount importance. However, if this communication is not a meaningful one, then there is no point in organizing a meeting in the first place. Properly run meetings save time, increase motivation, productivity, and solve problems. Meetings create new ideas and initiatives.
The following important points help towards making a business meeting organized and productive:
- Define the agenda and the purpose of the meeting
The agenda on which the meeting will be based is very important because it sets the tone for the meeting and determines its direction. It is important in the start to make sure that what the meeting expects to achieve. The fact that stakeholders and business partners are part of the business project so the goal should be specific and measurable.
- Get the right decision-makers in the room
Right people with appropriate knowledge, perspective and experience regarding the issues and topics to be discussed in the meeting are the key. It is important that the company representatives and managers need to muster up the responsibilities and authority to take actionable steps. A business meeting usually involves diverse perspectives and opinions on the part of stakeholders. So, it requires right decision-makers to reach to a logical conclusion.
- Schedule the meetings strategically
For the purpose of better productivity, meeting must be scheduled strategically. In general, Monday mornings are being used up by professionals for catching up on their emails. While most of the business owners, professionals and employees use Friday afternoons wrapping up their work. So, meetings should be held when participants are most likely to engage. Besides, business meetings are not meant for stakeholders and partners to get tired. To get better result in the end, their comfort and interests must be properly taken care of. It would be a good idea to use names of their businesses or companies in the form of labels for water bottles during the meeting. That way, there will be a strong bonding among the stakeholders.
- Clearly articulate and underline terms of reference
Whenever a business meeting takes place, the first thing that is made absolutely clear to all the participants is the terms of reference. It is a document that states all the guidelines regarding meeting purpose and objectives, roles of participants, topics to be discussed, confidentiality required and logistics.
- Get the business partners and stakeholders the basics
Before the commencement of meeting, it is important that the stakeholders and potential business partners need to be provided with basic information about the company, its practices, challenges, strategies, programs and performance. A brief report about the company’s important aspects and much-needed information must be provided to the stakeholders. It is indeed a professional way of starting up a great conversation.
- Be disciplined and flexible
Time is very important for every participant so meeting should be planned according to fixed timings for each segment. However, if the conversation is getting interesting at some point, the meeting can be stretched to have everyone putting his or her perspective. On the other hand, if conversation is getting boring then there is no point in stretching it unnecessarily. It can be moved to the next segment to make it more productive.
- Wrap it up neatly
A proper closing of the meeting is equally important. While wrapping the meeting, it is important to touch upon all the decisions, deadlines and deliverables. The convener must clarify whether any follow-up action is required. All of the meeting participants must be made amply clear what is expected of them and how the objectives of the meeting can be achieved.
An effective and well-organized meeting is surely the key for a successful business. Such meetings provide a valuable opportunity to exchange perspectives, gather valuable insights and strengthen important relationships. The above mentioned steps are an attempt to show how a business meeting needs to be conducted to make it fruitful and productive.
This guest post is courtesy of Michael Zhou. He is the Senior VP of Business Intelligence Development, He has assisted the Fortune 1000 company with expertise in the web as a whole, including ground-zero marketing efforts that benefit both consumer and vendor. He is a thinker, communicator, marketer, competitor, people person, and all-around busy bee. He is a relentless networker with several years of real world experience and two college degrees under my belt. Michael Zhou also writes for Esprittoday.