Tips for Effective Business Meetings + Free Business Meeting Agenda Template

Whether a business has 3 employees or 3,000 what ultimately unites them all is the goal of getting things done. To have a smooth working flow and efficiently conduct their responsibilities, parties have to establish a strong communication system. Yes, employees can communicate with one another in various ways, however in most cases the decisions they make during those one-on-one daily conversations can get lost along the way. That’s why organizations run regular business meetings.

Although running an effective business meeting can be quite the challenge, if conducted the right way, they can undoubtedly turn into one of the most important components of any company’s daily life. The following article examines effective business meeting tips and provides readers with a free business meeting agenda template.

What is a Business Meeting?

 

Simply put, a business meeting is a gathering of people for the purpose of making decisions to achieve goals for a company. Business talks can be conducted in person at an office. With the development of video conferencing technologies, however, parties can join a business meeting from anywhere in the world, as long as they have a device and are connected to the Internet. 

Industries rely on these professional gatherings to get things done. Here are some intriguing facts about business meetings showcasing how important it is to structure your meeting as efficient and effective as possible:

  • $338 is the average cost of a business meeting
  • 70% of business meetings are considered unproductive
  • 37% of business meetings start late
  • Employees spend 31 hours in unproductive business meetings each month

The numbers speak for themselves. The better you run your business meeting, the less resources you will lose. Before we dive deeper into the strategies on how to do so, let’s first take a look at the types of business meetings.

What are the types of Business Meeting?

There are six more common types of business meetings:

 

🗣️ Status Update Meetings

These types of business meetings are basically quick sync-ups and are conducted to share the latest information and updates on projects. The good thing about status update meetings is that they are less likely to include discussions about past performance. Instead, they focus on assigning new tasks and moving forward.

🗣️ Decision-Making Meetings

Discussions are important for any business decision-making process. Whether the agreement has to be on something big or small, parties should have a chance to prepare their stance, come up with plausible solutions and have the opportunity to vote. In order to hear what everyone has to say, the decision-making process is usually spread out over several different meetings meaning that more time should certainly be dedicated to those gatherings.

🗣️Problem-Solving Meetings

These types of business meetings are one of the most crucial ones, especially if a crisis occurs. When a problem or an emergency rises, companies have to identify it, come up with several solutions and properly organize their tactics. Therefore, these goal-oriented business meetings tend to take a lot of time in most cases.

🗣️ Team-Building Meetings

Business meetings are a great way for a team to become a little closer. Sometimes, however, for a team to work even better and form a closer bond, it’s essential to plan a team-building meeting. Such meetings can be either in the form of an outing, weekend getaway or corporate events. During a team-building meeting, employees have the chance to establish personal relationships which are undoubtedly important for creating a great working environment which in turn transforms into organizational growth and progress.

🗣️Brainstorming Meetings

These types of business meetings come in handy when team members don’t want to spend time in writing emails or flooding the company chat thread. Such brainstorming sessions give parties the opportunity to talk more in-depth on a certain issue, ask questions, facilitate discussions and end up with a resonated solution. Yes, they might cost a chunk of everyone’s work time but in the end, the experience can result in better teamwork and stronger team relationships. We have already established that these factors play a huge role in any company’s success.

🗣️Innovation Meetings

These types of meetings, though they don’t happen on a regular basis, are just as important as any other. Ultimately, forcing creativity and outside-the-box thinking to employees is difficult, however when members come up with new ideas, solutions or a tactic they think it’s worthy of checking out, it’s great to encourage them to present it in front of the team. It’s also a chance for the company to  try something new and add on to existing work habits.

 

How to run an effective Business Meeting?

 

☑ Preparation is key. This goes without saying. Meetings are an inseparable part of your work life. Therefore, just like you prepare for any other work activity, you should come prepared for a meeting if you want to achieve better results.

 

☑ Have a clear meeting agenda. A clear business meeting agenda is a crucial component for its success. To put it simply, a meeting agenda is a list of points to be addressed during the course of a meeting. The purpose of setting up a business meeting agenda is to make sure no time is being wasted as we all know, time is money.

Any agenda or paperwork should be distributed in advance to all of the participants. This way, they can prepare for the meeting in advance. Another important thing to remember is to allocate specific time to each point of the agenda to make sure the discussions and decision-making process don’t turn into a wasted working day.

Many companies use a business meeting agenda template to structure their points and minimize the amount of time a meeting will take. Not just that but through a business meeting agenda template or the so called business meeting minutes, taking notes of what was discussed during a meeting is a lot easier.

Often, companies designate a secretary to keep a written transcript of what took place during a meeting, including but not limited to attendees, objectives, schedule and responsibilities. Business meeting minutes are crucial for companies in order to convert a verbal discussion into an actual action plan and end up with a transparent decision-making process.

A quick search on the Internet will give you hundreds, if not thousands of sample business meeting agenda templates. We, at Mombit who have developed the ultimate business meeting management platform, have prepared a general business meeting minutes template which your company can freely use for your next appointment. Click on the following link and get started!

 

[FREE BUSINESS MEETING AGENDA TEMPLATE]

 

⚠️ Idealistically, a business meeting should strictly follow the agenda and stay away from any surprises. This is indeed quite challenging, especially in a conference room full of people. It’s important to keep those off-topic conversations to a minimum but if they arise, make sure to book a new meeting for a future discussion.

 

☑ End the meeting early if possible. Everyone has been to at least several of those and going beyond the scheduled ending time is not only highly unpleasant but can also heavily disrupt the working day flow. Team members already have plenty of tasks on their to-do list and adding another hour of meeting will make them anything but productive. Make sure the length of the meeting is announced beforehand and stick to it. By doing so, you will have a focused and more active group of people who are less likely to keep looking at their watches and phones.

As previously mentioned, a study found that the average employee spends 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings. At least half of that can be considered unproductive. If it’s possible to wrap up the meeting as quickly as possible, go for it. Of course, you can’t stand up, close your laptop and leave the conference room in the middle of a discussion. However, you can use other methods and hints to make sure everyone knows it’s time to go back to work.

 

☑ Be inclusive. Though many company leaders follow the opposite principle – stay exclusive and don’t bring “unnecessary” people into the discussion. However, why not, for a change, encourage more people to take part in the discussion? This way you might realize that sometimes great ideas can truly come from anyone in an organization. In an organization with several different departments the efforts of one team determine the direction of another team. Therefore, next time you have, for instance, a meeting with the IT department, why not invite the guys from marketing?

 

☑ Have some fun! Business meetings don’t have to turn into soulless gatherings of zombies. Get personal. If you’re not the most prominent speaker, you can always prepare business meeting ice breakers, such as short anecdotes, intriguing real-life examples and more. Your audience will become ten times more attentive when they see that the speaker is smiling, is excited and is trying to lighten up the mood.


What are some other rules of a good Business Meeting?

 

Many other rules and tactics govern business meetings and they surely vary throughout organizations from all over the world. If the above-mentioned suggestions on how to run a successful business meeting are just not working out for you and your team, there are still some things you can do. 

 

☑ Why not send an email instead? Verbal communication certainly triumphs over any form of written correspondence, that’s for sure. However, you have to determine if the content of your meeting could simply be sent as an email. If the information you want to convey is factual or too detailed to convey in a 10-minute business meeting, then the answer is simple – send an email and don’t spend time in reserving conference rooms, bringing equipment and waiting for everyone to arrive.

 

☑ No smartphones policy. To have effective business meetings and ensure that everyone is focused and participates in the discussions, many companies request their team members to leave their smartphone aside.

 

☑ Speak slowly. If you’re the one leading the meeting, you have to learn how to speak slowly and clearly. Otherwise you will sound nervous and as if you’re trying to get it over it as soon as possible.


When is the best time for an effective Business Meeting?

 

Time is of the essenceIs there really such a thing as “best time to schedule a business meeting?” Yes, there is. Let’s, for a moment, forget about those big annual business meetings or quarterly business meetings that happen on a larger scale and involve a lot of people. Let’s talk about business meetings that happen on a regular basis.

According to a study, conducted by YouCanBookMe, the best time for an effective business meeting is on Tuesdays at 2:30 pm. Researchers concluded that since it’s not too late in the week and it’s not early in the morning, many participants gave this response. 

Choosing the right day of the week and time to schedule a meeting can ultimately have a huge impact on the productivity of the team. There’s one thing we can all agree on without looking at surveys, though – Mondays and Fridays are the worst days to hold meetings. On Mondays people are still in their weekend mode and on Fridays everyone is just eager to go home as quickly as possible. 

In terms of time, it’s somehow commonly known that early morning meetings should be avoided if possible. Members need time to prepare. To do so, they might have to come even earlier which is highly unpleasant for everyone. Let your team members enjoy their morning coffee and look through their emails in peace.

Avoid scheduling meetings right after lunch. Give your team members some time to recharge their batteries. We all get lethargic after having a decent meal and this absolutely can affect our productivity. Schedule the meeting after 2:00 pm when everyone’s energy levels are back to normal.

 

What are the best communication tools for business meetings?

 

Technological advancements gave birth to the age of remote work. Countless businesses and organizations from around the world had already welcomed the “work from home” practice and conducted hundreds of meetings with team members in different locations. Working from home or in a coffee shop, however, doesn’t mean that those business meetings you were having on a regular basis will disappear. Especially when there are so many business meeting apps, tools and programs that let you log in to a virtual meeting room and enter the conversation.

Furthermore, when various video conferencing software established solid grounds within the business world, team members also transformed their online business meeting habits. Now, even those quick one-on-one calls are held over video conferencing software to mirror that face-to-face interaction that’s missing in the age of remote work. With that being said, let’s take a quick look at the top 5 best tools for business meetings.

📞 Zoom
No surprises here. The majority of companies and organizations these days are using Zoom as their go-to video conferencing platform. Zoom has undoubtedly earned its reputation by providing users with unique features such as the ability to pull in up to 50 HD video streams at the same time.

📞 Skype
Skype is the godfather of video conferencing and online communication. Millions of people use it on a daily basis to talk or chat with their colleagues. Using Skype for business meetings gives you the opportunity to make free HD video calls, transmit photos and files of all sizes and have as many group chats as you want. Skype also adopted a translator feature that allows users to translate calls and instant messages if both parties don’t speak the same language. That surely is a win!

📞 Google Hangouts
Many business teams prefer to use Google Hangouts as it allows people to host large meetings for free and it responds well with iOS and Android users. Google also has a real-time speech-to-text feature which is quite useful for people who have hearing troubles.

📞 Microsoft Teams
The great thing about Microsoft Teams is that there’s no limit for the number of people who can join a call. Team members can participate in audio, video and web conferences from anywhere in the world. The tool is easy to use and it lets you share files and chat with your team securely.

📞 GoToMeeting
This business meeting tool is preferred by many companies because of its unique features such as real-time collaboration which allows parties to write and edit synchronously. There are dozens other cool features that can turn meetings from boring video-calls to interactive and fun visual experiences.

 

The good and bad news about business meetings:

 

Business meetings go hand in hand with our daily work lives. There’s just simply no escaping whether you like it or not. In a lifetime, you will lead or you will attend both good and bad meetings so just get used to that. 

Ultimately, though, business meetings are a great way to communicate with your team and can help you develop skills and leadership, making them absolutely empowering. Important factors for the success of any company, such as team spirit and loyalty are further strengthened by having regular meetings. 

Yes, business meetings might turn into an endless discussion without focus or direction. Some attendees might come unprepared or you can all of a sudden open your daily planner and see that you have to attend or lead three or more meetings. However, as discussed in our article, there’s certainly hope. For every problem that may arise during or before a business meeting, there’s a solution. Be open-minded and don’t be afraid to try out new methods and tactics. The results might surprise you. 

 

Images Credits:

  • https://www.freepik.com/photos/business – Business photo created by senivpetro
  • https://www.freepik.com/photos/business – Business photo created by freepik
  • https://www.freepik.com/photos/business – Business photo created by drobotdean
  • https://www.freepik.com/photos/business – Business photo created by freepik

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