Business Tech

Planning ahead for meetings and conference calls

As the old saying goes, time is money – and whether your meeting is a face-to-face event or a conference call, there are some important things you can do to ensure that everything is run as efficiently as possible.

Well-planned meetings have many benefits. In addition to honouring your colleagues’ time, effective preparation can also help you make smarter decisions about how your organisation will move forward, troubleshoot any problems and collaborate on new innovations.

Read on for some top tips on how to ensure meetings proceed on schedule.

Establish the venue

Your meeting may be a face-to-face discussion with a colleague or client, or it could be a conference call with another office or organisation in a different part of the country – or even overseas!

Today’s technology makes it easier to communicate than ever before, so why not use it to your advantage. Set up a calendar invite to your meeting, detailing when and where it is set to take place. This will help your contacts plan their day accordingly – especially when travel time needs to be taken into consideration.

Set a schedule

Setting specific start and end times for your meetings can help everyone manage their time more effectively. Not only will you know how long you need to be away from your desk, but this will also ensure that the meeting stays on-point and on-target.

You may even wish to break down the meeting into sections – for example, a one-hour meeting could be broken down into five minutes for the introduction, 15 minutes for each of three key points and ten minutes for questions and closing remarks. This will keep the discussion focused and ensure your team doesn’t get bogged down on any one topic.

Use your resources wisely

If you know in advance that you will be discussing a certain document – such as a company policy or a client brief – at the meeting, make sure that all invited parties have a copy they can review before the event.

Other useful resources may be notes from previous meetings, research findings or even a well-prepared sales pitch. Regardless of the topic at hand, your discussion will be much more effective if you encourage participants to do their homework and come prepared.

Whether it is shared documents and files, printed literature or even a presentation, it’s smart to ensure that everyone can access the relevant information – always ask the participants to flag any issues they have when opening files in case they need to be re-sent in a different format.

Troubleshoot your meeting

There’s nothing worse than a meeting that can’t proceed as planned because of technical difficulties – and in many cases, these can be ironed out with a bit of troubleshooting ahead of time.

If your meeting is a conference call, check that your speakers and microphones are working properly and that your software is up to date – these simple measures just take a few minutes, but can make all the difference if you are trying to impress a client or keep to a schedule.

In a physical meeting space, you should also ensure you have water or coffee and tea to offer your guests and that the temperature of the room is comfortable. Attending to these small details ahead of time can help you get started on schedule – and ensure everyone is well-placed to have a productive and successful meeting.


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