6 Things to Remember When Hosting a Business Meeting
Business meetings can be fretful at the best of times. However, perhaps one of the things worse than having to present is also having to host a business meeting in the first place. In that instance, thereâ€™s no real opportunity for you to sit down and relax. If youâ€™re being a proper host, youâ€™re running the show for as long as the business meeting lasts. While some may enjoy the challenge and work to do their best, others panic and wonder what on earth they did for God to punish them so.
The important thing, really, is to avoid the temptation to panic. As with all things, solutions are easier to come by if you keep a level head and approach things logically. After all, fussing and getting anxious will only make things worse. If it helps, remember these important things to do whenever youâ€™re hosting a business meeting.
- Keep a Backup Plans
You canâ€™t expect to prepare for every possible scenario, of course, but as a rule of thumb you should try to have at least one or two contingency plans in case your initial plans fall through. If the business meeting is to be hosted in a third party venue such as a restaurant, for example, make sure you have two or three alternative places in mind as well. If you require any equipment, make sure you have replacements in case something breaks down.
Thinking of the most obvious problems and having something to assist when they occur will save you a lot of headaches later, and will impress those attending the meeting for your foresight.
- Do You Have Everything?
Before a meeting begins, always make sure you have everything. Three is the magic number here. Check once a week before the meeting starts to within three days. Any long term problems can be dealt with in this time. Check again the day before the meeting that everything is present. Then check once more three hours before the meeting starts.
If you ever find out that something essential is missing, such as projection equipment, extra chairs, or that really funny kitten gif you wanted to use on one of your PowerPoint presentation slides, you can use the time to find or replace it.
For all of your documents, it is important to have a backup, such as filing them into an online database like FileCenter, so that if, on the off chance, your computer crashes or your paper ones are ruined by coffee, you have access to them.
- Know Your Attendees
Make sure you know who your attendees are and anything they may require. This will enable you to cater your hosting plans towards them specifically to cater to any particular needs. For example, an attendee who requires a wheelchair may not appreciate a meeting being hosted somewhere that cannot be accessed by one, and a vegan attendee may not appreciate it if an alternative to milk is not provided for teas or coffee.
If youâ€™re hosting guests from foreign countries, itâ€™s also essential you learn at least the basics of manner and etiquette from those countries. What may seem commonplace for you could be highly insulting to someone from another culture. You can hardly say to be hosting a successful business meeting if you end up insulting your attendees. These small details can make the difference between a good business meeting and a disastrous one.
- Make Sure Everyone is Informed
Before a meeting starts, check, double-check and triple-check that everyone knows where the meeting is, when the meeting is, and what the meeting is about. Communication is key to any effectively run meeting, so you must ensure everyone is in the loop.
Make sure memos are sent both through electronic channels (such as e-mails) and physical channels (such as written memos). Always ask for confirmation that people understand when and where the meeting is. Likewise, encourage attendees to say in advance if they cannot make a meeting after all. This act of common courtesy just makes it easier for everyone.
- Keep on Time
Timing is critical during a meeting, so make your plans accordingly. In the same vein, make sure your schedule is flexible enough that things can be dropped or padded out as needed depending on how the meeting goes. For example, if attendees seem particularly interested in one topic being discussed, consider shaving off five minutes from a less essential section to make more time for it. To host a business meeting, you need to keep things moving as much as it needs to.
Likewise, do not be afraid to cut people short. If someone is unexpectedly late, start without them. If someoneâ€™s presentation overruns, ask them to cut it short. This keeps everything running smoothly.
- Take Control
This rather blends nicely with the next point. You are the host. Make sure you keep in control. While hospitality dictates that you should be courteous to the needs and wishes of your guests, this is at the end of the day your show. You say when presentation starts and finishes. You say when people pause for breaks. You say what the matter of the meeting should be about.
By all means, be open to ideas and suggestions of those attending and adopt them if necessary should they be relevant and useful. But never feel as though you should surrender the reins.
Christian Mills is a small business owver who strives to keep his company and employees in order. Howver, he has run into several problems with running the office completely smoothly and effecitve. Thouh,Â he has learned from his experiences and has shared some tips for his audience. If you would like to learn more about Christian, you can check out his google+ profile.