Business meetings require scheduling, organization, leadership, record keeping and follow- up. How your project proceeds will depend on the decision making and action that will flow from the collaborative effort made possible from the meeting.
Draft the meeting agenda. The agenda is on outline of all issues that require discussion for decisions that are necessary to further your project or goals. List all known issues in a concise outline format with bullet points. Once you have the agenda drafted, you will know the issues, and then you will know who needs to attend the meeting.
Send out a mass email or make phone calls to all persons who need to attend the meeting and ask for their availability with dates and times through a one-week period if you have several attendees. This alone can be a daunting challenge given busy schedules. Once you have everyone's availability, cross reference the schedules for an available date and time. Plan for sufficient time to hold the meeting, and send out a notice to all attendees of the date, start time, end time and location of the meeting, along with a copy of the agenda.
In preparing for the meeting, have copies of the agenda distributed to all attendees together with any documents that will be the topic of discussion. Display boards and power point presentations should be ready for display with easels and any necessary projectors, laptops and screens. Also, the meeting organizer should be prepared to lead the meeting and a record keeper should attend the meeting to take notes.
The meeting organizer/leader needs to keep the discussion on track. Discussion will inevitably lead to tangential issues and off-topic discussion, so the leader must make sure that the discussion eventually returns to the agenda items. The leader must also keep track of the time and keep the discussion flowing to hit all of the agenda items. The leader should provide a short description of the agenda items to start the discussion and also ask questions or request input from attendees to obtain necessary information. The leader should conclude each action item with the person responsible for the item's completion and an estimated time schedule for completion.
Once all agenda items are concluded, the group should schedule a follow-up meeting if necessary or schedule regularly occurring meetings on an agreed upon day and time.
The record keeper should compile his notes into a meeting minutes organized in outline format. The draft minutes should then be sent to the meeting attendees to seek comments, corrections or changes. The final meeting minutes should then be distributed to the attendees and used for follow up action and as the base for the next meeting agenda if necessary.
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