Meetings are a great way of bringing people together to make decisions, come up with new ideas, update employees or to catch up with teams. It’s becoming increasingly common for businesses to have remote workers, or regional/national departments, and a meeting is an excellent way to get everybody in a room together for some valuable face-to-face time. Preparation is key when it comes to organising a meeting, and planning should start long before everybody is sat around the table.
The first step is to make sure that your meeting is properly planned ahead of time as meetings can take up valuable time in the diary, particularly if travel is involved. It’s important to have a clear purpose and a detailed agenda set out in advance to ensure that projects can move forward.
Effective meetings can benefit an organisation in a number of ways. Employees are given the chance to provide input, have a say in the decision-making process and voice their ideas and opinions in a closed environment. They can also help increase accountability when everybody is in a room and able to agree on who is responsible for what and when. Taking minutes or making a note of what was discussed is a great way of keeping tabs on allocated tasks and actions, and also provides a great template for your next meeting’s agenda.
Organising a meeting is an exciting and rewarding challenge that brings together colleagues who might not always have the opportunity to meet face-to-face. There are many items to think about, such as coordinating diaries, booking venues, organising transport or simply working out who needs to be there!
We’ve put together our top eight things to remember when organising a meeting to help get you started:
- Start by defining your purpose. What do you want to achieve by the end of your meeting? This could involve working through a big agenda, coming to a number of decisions as a group, or simply ensuring the team has caught up and bonded. Whatever the desired outcome of your meeting, it’s a good idea to communicate this to your attendees in advance.
- Pick a time and a date. This can often be the hardest part when organising a meeting! Using a calendar tool such as Doodle enables you to suggest several meeting dates to your team and find out their availability. Tools like Doodle will collate feedback to find the best date to hold your meeting without having several email exchanges.
- Meetings don’t have to stay in the boardroom. Does your meeting need to take place sat around a table? Many venues featured on Secret Spaces have amazing outdoor areas or breakout rooms that would be perfect for ‘walking’ meetings or activity-led sessions. What will get your team’s creative juices flowing? Getting out in the fresh air might just be the answer!
- Who is on your attendee list? Inviting too many people can cause issues for organisation and also lengthen your agenda.Who are the key stakeholders and decision makers? Less is sometimes more when it comes to putting together an attendee list.
- Make sure your venue has the correct facilities. If your meeting requires a projector or a whiteboard for mind-mapping activities, speak to your venue before to see what equipment they have. Even something as simple as having paper and pens laid out can help to ensure your meeting goes off without a hitch.
- Will your meeting need catering? Depending on the length of your meeting, you might want to stop for lunch and/or have a refreshment break. Check with your venue to see if you can order food from a recommended supplier, and if they will have tea and coffee available. Don’t forget to check for any dietary requirements or allergies!
- Location, location, location. If your meeting attendees are travelling, pick a location that has good transport links or is easily accessible by car. Many Secret Spaces venues have ample parking or are located a short taxi journey away from a train station.
- Will your attendees need accommodation? If your meeting is a two-day event, you may want to consider a meeting venue with accommodation on-site or nearby. It’s a good idea to book this in early, or to speak to nearby hotels to see if they are able to put any rooms on hold.
Secret Spaces can recommend a number of meeting spaces to suit your needs, whatever your agenda. Take a look at our venue directory today.