Know what you want to accomplish

Having an effective meeting relies primarily on having goals. It’s important to know why you’re scheduling a business meeting and what goals you want to accomplish therein. Write down a list of the goals you want to accomplish before your meeting and then present them to attending members. Don’t leave the meeting unless you’ve accomplished what you set out to and gotten the answers you’re looking for. 

Develop a plan

Once you decide what you want to accomplish, create a plan that lays out how you’ll communicate those goals to your employees. Try not to use complicated or jargony language when explaining new ideas and be willing to answer any and all questions that are asked by members of the group. If someone doesn’t understand the goal or what you’re saying, don’t lose patience. Instead, try rephrasing your language so that everyone is on the same page. 

Write a meeting summary before the meeting begins

Create a one-page summary of the major bullet points you hope to hit during your meeting. This will let everyone know what to expect and will result in them being more ready and able to get on board with ideas. It also gives them time to form questions or notes they may have. 

Stay on topic

When a meeting is well attended, it can be difficult to stay on top of your goals. If you find that a meeting isn’t going anywhere, or is going off on a tangent, try to politely circle back to the topic that is being addressed in the meeting. 

Ask the right questions

Always try to ask the right questions when you’re talking to employees and coworkers. Clear, concise and pointed questions are the best way to clear up confusion and get to the core of ideas. To prepare, write out some questions that relate to your concerns. If you ask a question and it isn’t quite answered, stay on top of it. Ask for clarification or push when necessary to get an answer that resolves your issue. 

Encourage participation

Don’t let just a few people take control of meetings. Instead, create an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable expressing ideas and opinions. Often, the people who spend the least time talking are the ones who spend the most time thinking. So encourage those people to express what’s on their mind and create a friendly collaborative atmosphere to do so. 

Determine a timeline

Make sure that you have specific deadlines of when you want objectives to be accomplished and goals to be complete. Otherwise not everyone will be on the same page. 

Don’t leave the meeting right away

Don’t simply do a presentation and then leave. Some topics may need to be further explained or confusions addressed. Give everyone enough time to digest everything and form questions if necessary. Be patient, and ensure that everyone understands your goals. 

Learn from your mistakes

Learn how to improve your company’s business meetings by reviewing your past presentations. Focus on what you did wrong last time so that you can improve in the future. A good way to do this is to ask feedback from the people who attended the meeting and follow up on their comments, suggestions. (Judgement free!) 

Change things up

Don’t do the same meeting all the time. This will prevent employees from getting bored or tuning out, and will encourage participation. Shaking up the way things are done can keep everyone involved, interested and on board.