How to have an efficient meeting

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Meetings often venture off-topic and overrun; wouldn’t it be useful to be able to make these sessions more efficient? Our Event Team at Ellenborough Park have utilised their knowledge from working at the most popular meeting rooms in Cheltenham – here they offer their top tips.

Agendas and Attendees

This first suggestion might sound simple, but many people forget to obtain (and agree on) a written agenda in advance. To keep things productive, you need to avoid all distractions and vague conversations; start with a bullet point list of topics that are to be discussed and make sure that this list is emailed out to all attendees at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. The further in advance you send out the list, the quicker and easier it will be to solidify what is to be debated, thus avoiding off-topic chatter.

While agendas also help delegates remember important points of interest, they also allow attendees to offer points for inclusion ahead of the meeting. Don’t hesitate to review the attendee list – having the wrong people in the room can seriously hinder the effectiveness of your meeting. Key people need to be present so that decisions can be made – too many faces in the room leads to too much discussion, and no decisive action.

Timings and Topics

Time is of the essence in a meeting, so someone needs to be responsible for being time keeper. Without this role filled, it is easy to become unfocused. Remember – when people attend a meeting they cannot do anything else, so respect their time! Meetings should not be used to share information (unless it is of a sensitive nature) and it is worth remembering that a productive meeting is one that induces action and moves business forward. Starting the meeting on time and ending a few minutes early will quickly enhance your reputation as an organised person and improve people’s willingness to attend your future meetings.

On the topic of future meetings, they can be scheduled off the back of the meeting you have just held. This can be an effective tool for off-topic points of interest, but don’t schedule another meeting just for the sake of it. Make a note of any points raised that do not fit into the agenda – this shows the team that you are acknowledging their important concern or point but allows the meeting to be uninterrupted and end on time. If a point is raised that isn’t relevant at that moment in time, refer back to your agenda and inform the team that the current point is valid for another discussion; you will make a note of it as it goes beyond the purpose of this meeting, but it will be included in the minutes and follow-up email so the point can be followed up at a later date.

Note Taking and Post-Meeting Emails

Taking notes in meetings is essential; not only do delegates need to record any questions, tasks or responsibilities that have been assigned to them, it’s also good practice to supply a summary to attendees after the meeting. Having a copy of the agenda will be invaluable for this, as if you have all stayed on-topic and made the most of our tips, you will be able to write up minutes with ease. Focus on the decisions made, and not every comment made – this saves time and allows you to make swift notes on paper without the worry of relying on technology (other attendees could also assume that you are not focused on the task at hand and are instead checking emails if you use a device).

Post-meeting emails and follow-up emails should be sent in a timely manner. If you don’t do this you run the risk of important information becoming irrelevant or forgotten. You will also make a good impression to all in attendance as they can reply on you to be organised the same day, or at the very latest within 24 hours.

We hope these tips have been helpful. If you want to host an efficient meeting and have been searching for suitable meetings venues in the Cotswolds then look no further. Ellenborough Park offers true hospitality and absolute flexibility. All rooms feature complimentary WiFi and our team will organise a space to suit your individual needs.

View our Day Delegate Conference Special of just £39pp between November and February here, offering a complimentary 55 minute spa treatment for any events booked in November.

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