Don’t you ever wish that there was some sort of meeting prep textbook or meeting preparation checklist that you could constantly refer back to whenever you had to host a meeting of your own? That would be great. Well, you can tell that Genie of yours to forget the other two wishes- you’ve already got everything you could possibly want right here!
On a serious note, however, we get it. We understand that throwing a meeting can be a difficult experience. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had months to prepare, or you’ve well and truly been caught like a deer in the headlights; it can be tricky to find your feet no matter what. Even those with years of hosting experience can get a little bit nervous.
With our trusty meeting preparation checklist, however, you can wave goodbye to those panicked phone calls to missing attendees and mad dashes from the office to the printer and back again. Wave goodbye to those stressful days of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best; we’ve well and truly got you covered, so you can host the best meeting ever!
3 Ground Rules To Consider Implementing
Before launching into your meeting, however, we do recommend setting some ground rules and boundaries with your participants, just to level the playing field and ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them.
1) Put Phones Away for the Duration
Not to sound too old-fashioned, but sometimes a group conversation without constant beeping and buzzing and subconscious scrolling can be rather refreshing, and crucial to bouncing around ideas as a team. If this has been going on throughout previous meetings, it’s a big sign that something might need to be addressed. We recommend using Flipd to minimise your average screen time.
2) Attendance Means Involvement
We think that this one is super important; it’s all well and good showing your face at a meeting, but if you don’t show interest, make notes or ask questions, then you might as well not have been there at all. If you attend, you participate. Rules are rules.
3) Respect All Attendees, Despite Having Differing Views
A little bit of healthy discussion never hurts anybody, and in a meeting setting, taking part in a discussion can actually be essential to get a quicker resolution to your initial problem. However, when the conversation becomes more hurtful, that’s a surefire way to get you nowhere.
The Ultimate Meeting Preparation Checklist for Your Next Big Meeting
1) Determine Why The Meeting Should Happen
What’s the point in having a meeting if there’s no clear focus? What you don’t want happening is a room of people leaving your meeting muttering “that could’ve been an email” under their breath. The shame, the embarrassment.
Therefore, we recommend exploring all of your options before booking your meeting, to see if there’s a way to save your guest’s time and to save any of your potential resources. Also, remember to set a start and finish time you’re sure your teams will be comfortable with. We recommend using an online programme like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to get the best of an in-person meeting and a virtual meeting all at the same time.
2) Assemble Your Agenda Early
Everyone has been in at least one meeting that’s gone on for a little bit longer than it should’ve, and that’s usually because the person leading the meeting had never thought to put a meeting agenda together beforehand.
A meeting with no direction is rarely an effective one, so creating your agenda and stating your agenda items early (and more importantly, sticking to it!) is essential to ensuring your meeting goes off without a hitch. This is sometimes referred to as a preliminary agenda and creating one will guarantee that there’s time to ensure everything you want to cover gets covered.
3) One Duty for One Participant
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it definitely wasn’t built by one individual. One person can’t do everything, no matter how hard they try (or how desperately they want to). No matter how many analogies we make or cliché phrases we use, the fact of the matter remains that delegation is key when it comes to a great meeting.
Give your guests their roles early on, so they have time to prepare for it and get used to it before the big day. Assigning tasks and assigning roles can be the perfect problem-solving task for your guests, and time spent doing this is definitely time well spent. Use an online tool like Asana to assign your roles in advance.
4) Ensure You Book The Perfect Meeting Space
The meeting space and the meeting prep space you choose can either make or break a meeting and how well all of your guests respond to your very valuable and well-thought-out points. So, why take the risk? Book your meeting with us here at Alexandra House, and we can guarantee your meeting will be one talked about for years to come!
Yes, we provide excellent meeting spaces and conference rooms, however, we’re also not strangers to hosting a wide variety of other events too, such as virtual events, team building activities and events requiring lots of outdoor space. So, no matter your event, you can be sure that when you book with us here at Alexandra House, you’re bound to have a fantastic time.
5) Officially Invite Your Guests
It goes without saying that having people to actually meet with might be a step in the right direction for a successful meeting! You don’t have to send out anything fancy or extravagant to your guests if the meeting doesn’t necessarily call for it; you could even opt for an email invitation (lovingly created using an online tool such as Canva) if you wanted to feel incredibly “swish”.
However you want to go about it, we recommend sending out your calendar invites with at least a week to go before the big day. This way, you give your guests plenty of time to either respond or rearrange.
6) Final Checks Before The Meeting
It’s getting close to go-time; so you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got your last bits and pieces in order. From finalising your presentation, fixing the last little pieces of your speech, or printing out flyers and handouts ready to give to your guests; there’s no time like the present to hop to it. This would also be a great time to reach out to any guests who haven’t responded to your invite and see if they’re planning on attending.
7) Get Your Props and Equipment Together
Props and equipment are always good to have, but they’re often not essential. If there are any fun props you need to be able to tell a certain story with, or even if you just don’t feel like you without your presentation clicker, making sure you’ve got all of these to hand (and triple checking that they all work!) is going to be your number one priority this late in the game.
8) Breathe… And Go!
It’s go-time. You’ve rehearsed, you’ve had everything sorted for a while, and you know exactly what you’re doing. You’ve done a good job.
Now all you have to do is get out there and do it! And just think; after you’ve finished your meeting and rounded everything up with a nice little bow, you won’t ever have to think about this meeting ever again.
Unless you do… but still, we’re sure you’ll find time between now and then to have a nice cup of tea or a large glass of something a little stronger!
Meeting Preparation Checklist Conclusion
Planning a meeting can be a tough experience, especially if you’re not particularly sure about how to go about it. However, with our ultimate meeting preparation checklist, we hope you’ll be a lot more prepared when it comes to dazzling your team at any future events. Just to serve as a reminder, here’s our meeting preparation checklist so you can throw them the very best meeting around:
- Determine Why The Meeting Should Happen
- Assemble Your Agenda Early
- One Duty for One Participant
- Ensure You Book The Perfect Meeting Space
- Officially Invite Your Guests
- Final Checks Before The Meeting
- Get Your Props and Equipment Together
- Breathe… And Go!
If you’re looking for the perfect place to host your next meeting, then look no further than Alexandra House! Based in Swindon, Alexandra House is a modern conference, wedding and meeting venue that can cater for up to 240 guests. With 14 contemporary flexible meeting spaces, and in an incredibly convenient location that’s only 10 minutes from the M4, Alexandra House is the best place to hold your meeting and could be the dream conference venue for you.
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