How to organize a formal meeting

Sometimes an email is not enough. There are decisions in the business field that can only be carried out with the impulse of a face-to-face meeting between the heads of the departments involved, or even between members of different companies and institutions. Like any protocol act, a meeting requires completing some steps for its proper development. That’s why here we explain how to organize a formal meeting.

Previous phase: organization of the meeting

First of all, it is convenient to ask yourself a question: “Is it really necessary to organize a meeting for this topic?”. And it is that these appointments often, and with good reason, have a reputation of being authentic devourers of time, taking too many hours without the issues being resolved. Therefore, it is necessary to consider each time a meeting is going to be organized if there is really a need for it, or if the issue to be discussed can be resolved much more quickly with a couple of emails, a few phone calls or even a videoconference session through from Skype or a Google hangout.

Once the decision has been made, the number of people who will attend must be determined and the invitation sent to them, preferably by written means and sufficiently in advance, for example 15 days if it is a question of meeting people who have to travel from another city, although it will depend on the agenda and the situation of each company.

A recommendation: the more people that go, the more the meeting will last forever, so it is advisable not to mention more than the essential people. Days before the meeting, it is convenient to confirm by phone the attendance of each of the guests.

In addition to the list of people, it is also necessary to establish an estimated duration of the meeting, indicate an agenda and establish a place for the meeting, in a room equipped for this purpose. All of this must be well explained in the summons document that is sent to each participant in the meeting.

Preparation of the room

If the workplace does not have an appropriate meeting room, or if it is not going to be free for the day set for the meeting, you can always resort to a convention center or a hotel or business center that has spaces enabled. Depending on the meeting, an Internet connection, sufficient plugs, a projector, or video conferencing equipment may be required.

On the day of the meeting, the room must be reviewed in advance, checking that the lighting, sound and computer equipment are working without problems and that the furniture is correctly arranged. Likewise, water and glasses must be placed next to each seat. If the meeting schedule advises, you can prepare some coffee and snacks, either before the meeting, or as a break.

Development of the meeting

Brevity is important, so that the act does not last forever. Therefore, it is advisable to keep an agenda and follow it strictly, trying not to deviate from the topics discussed and, in any case, leaving secondary topics that may arise for later or for a later meeting.

If this is not the first meeting on the same topic, you can start by recapping the issues discussed and the agreements reached previously. It is advisable that one of the participants, or several taking turns if deemed appropriate, in the meeting act as secretary, bringing a draft report on the development of the meeting.

At the end, a short decision report is ready and, if necessary, the date of the next meeting is set.

Later phase

With more peace of mind, the draft report on the meeting is cleaned. Likewise, an attempt is made to leave the room used in good condition, and preparations are made for the next meeting, starting the process again.

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