Planning and organising meetings

Do you hate attending poorly planned meetings?A business traineeship will assist you improve the overall effectiveness of meetings. There is nothing worse than attending a poorly planned meeting; one that has no structure or order. During your traineeship you will learn how to plan a meeting and create an agenda.

To begin planning a meeting you need to ask: what must we do during the meeting, and how much time will each item realistically require?

Knowing the purpose of the meeting is a first step in structuring the agenda. Having a firm idea of where you want to be by the end of the meeting suggests what must be covered during the meeting. Do we need to review last year’s budget? Do we want to create a common vision of our organisation in the year 2020? If we want consensus on four short term goals, how can we both inspire creative thinking yet maintain a sense of reality?

Each step in reaching the desired meeting outcome is thought through carefully to determine the amount of time needed.

  • Establish how long the meeting is to last
  • List the agenda items that need to be covered or process steps that need to occur
  • Estimate how long each item will take factoring in time for dialogue
  • Leave about 15 minutes minimum at the end for summary and agreement on what comes next.

If, after following the above exercise, the agenda clearly requires more time, revise accordingly. Adjust the length of the meeting (and let participants know), or cut back on what you expect to accomplish. Keep in mind that critical thinking requires more time than typically allowed for in meetings, especially if there is controversy.

Allowing opportunities to voice an opinion, ask questions, and explain reasons behind positions are key to developing and achieving consensus on a plan.

Undertaking a traineeship in business studies will assist you to confidently plan and participate in meetings.