Host Like A PRO!             Prepare – Package- Deliver

A Successful Business Meeting!

Hosting a business meeting is just as important as the person attending the meeting. If you know the nuances that goes into leading a group, only then can you will take such a business opportunity to enhance your personal brand within the organization.

Hosting a business meeting is a big responsibility, regardless of how small or large the group or what the content may be. Knowing how to Prepare, Reinvigorate and Optimize your business meeting is priceless and everyone’s time is precious, so ensure that you make the most of your time and everyone else’s. Knowing the nuances that go into hosting a meeting and how to lead correctly, will help enhance your personal brand in the workplace.

When hosting a business meeting there are fundamental etiquette, protocols, and behaviors that are critical for you to be aware of so that you can ensure that others see you as the competent, credible leader that you are. A lack of understanding of these aspects when leading a business meeting can be determinantal to your brand.

This blog is to give you a bird’s eye view on how to lead a successful, productive business meeting. You can review the topics below as you begin planning your meeting or if you have been given hosting responsibilities at the last minute. This blog is sure to help you get organized quickly.

PREPARE

1. Know Your PURPOSE!

Before you plan a meeting, have a purpose. If you have a purpose, all the decisions you make before, during and after the meeting will help drive the meeting.  It’s a general rule to have at least 3 objectives you wish to attain at the completion of the meeting.

2. Inviting Attendess and Scheduleing the Meeting

The following tips should be given some serious consideration in order to host a great meeting.

  • Your email should have a great subject line.
  • Lead with expectations. Let everyone know what to expect: list your “3” objectives.
  • Include time, location and directions (if necessary) of the meeting.
  • Include all contacts of the meeting; if appropriate.
  • Send attendees in separate emails how you would like for them to participate in the meeting.
  • Let everyone know how to dress for the meeting.
  • Ask the attendees to send you any questions he or she might have prior to the meeting.
  • Include any attachments needed for review prior to the meeting.
  • Confirm the meeting 2 days prior to the event and reconfirm via email 2 hours prior.

3. Have all Collaterals and PowerPoints Ready!

You should have your meeting room set up and ready to go 30 minutes prior to meeting time. This gives you time to gather your thoughts in your office before greeting guests. For PowerPoint slides, always email yourself a copy and have it backed up on a thumbnail for last minute, very frustrating, snags.

4. Seating Arrangements

Have name tents if you wish the attendees to sit in a specific spot. Perhaps a new member of the group should sit closer to the host, so that he or she can highlight their presence and talents. Ensure that any handouts or other items are placed as a placemat at a dinner table.

4. Food and Beverages

Have name tents if you wish the attendees to sit in a specific spot. Perhaps a new member of the group should sit closer to the host, so that he or she can highlight their presence and talents. Ensure that any handouts or other items are placed as a placemat at a dinner table.

PACKAGE

1. Dress The Part!

If you are going to be a leader, then look like one too! Your professional image, how you look, sets the tone for what others can expect from you. If your look is unkept and sloppy then the perception of your knowledge, skills and abilities are perceived as the same. Never assume that just because you dress more casually for day-to-day business that you should for a meeting as well. It is important to let the attendees know the dress code, particularly if it’s out of their office or at an off-site location.

If the dress is casual, then as a host, always dress it up a notch. For example, a jacket might dress it the look up a bit, even with jeans. Or perhaps a dressier shoe or accessories. Whichever you choose, choose with care.

2. Collaterals and Materials

How you package anything that you present is critical to the meeting. Ensure that your PowerPoint is branded correctly. Check the fonts and colors that the organization use in their logo and marketing materials. Perhaps create a logo for the project, if this is the case, or at least use the font types and colors from the organization. This identify can be part of branding your project efforts as it is viewed throughout the organization.

DELIVER

1. Presenting

Be sure to arrive early and check all the technical items, such as your computer, projector, and software. This includes the lighting of the room.

Tips at a Glance:

 

  • Include nametags if everyone does not know each other, or if you wish, assign seats!
  • Verbally state your goals of the meeting.
  • Ensure that you have a strong opening and closing for the meeting.
  • Introduce everyone with first and last name, title and their reason for being in the meeting.
  • Bring copies of what you use for the attendees.
  • Ask everyone to put away mobile devices.
  • Allow time for Q&A in your agenda.
  • Sometimes you might need to detour a bit from your agenda and that’s fine; however, keep the meeting on track.
  • Avoid letting others get you off track be careful not to be a dictator, use emotional intelligence.
  • Make notes while others talk as to not interrupt them to ask questions later in the meeting.
  • Listen to what is being asked.
  • Ensure you close the meeting by recapping the meeting, tasks, and decisions.
  • Be sure to bring your business cards to all meetings.

2. Start And End On Time!

Always start on time, otherwise you will end late. For late comers, let him or her figure out what is going on. It’s not your responsibility to catch them up, nor is it fair to waste the time of those who showed up on time.

Ending on time is VERY important. Attendees have other meetings to attend and if they run overtime, you risk putting them behind. This keeps everyone responsible.

3. The Business Card Exchange

If there are new people to the meeting or contractors, ask everyone to exchange business cards so attendees can have everyone’s contact information and title. It’s best to keep the business cards visible on the table for a quick view in case you need to recall someone’s name if it escapes your mind, at it will, no matter how well you know someone!

4. No Phone Usage!

Let everyone know to please put away their phone during the meeting. Let them know that if it is a longer meeting you will allow for breaks. And it’s just as important that you do so also. Lead with example. And don’t multi-task. Like having your assistant consistently interrupt you, or chat with someone else why someone is presenting.

5. Present An Agenda

Introducing the meeting is important but keep it short and sweet. Review the purpose and the expected outcome of the meeting! Make any suggestions for bathroom and water breaks. Let them know if beverages or food will be available. Introduce any new attendees to the meeting. Present your agenda in a printed, one-page format. Determine if you want to have questions on-the-spot or have them held until after each segment of the meeting.

6. The 800-Pound Gorilla

When we were working with ESPN’s 90+ account executives, we always talked about the 800-pound gorilla in the room. If there is one, address it at the top of the meeting after the introductions. Addressing it up front to help everyone relax so that he or she can focus on the meeting and not anticipate it raising its ugly head later in the meeting.

7. Stay Focuse

Don’t let others or yourself get off target. If something does come up that needs addressing, table that for another meeting or email. It is important to finish and start on time. If you are not great at presenting, perhaps ask another member of the meeting to handle that part for you. They can help moderate it as well, while you ensure all the objectives are met.

8. To Stand or Sit?

This really depends on the situation. Most meetings are small and at a table. It is best to stand to begin the meeting. Walk around the room if possible, to move the energy. As others present, ask them to stand when called upon. If it’s too much movement for a small space, then have everyone stay seated.

9. Listen First – Speak Second

Never assume what the attendee is going to ask or say. Be sure to listen first without any interruption. Then provide the appropriate feedback to the question. If the question needs to be tabled for the time being, then do so. Just be sure to follow-up on that question, however appropriate.

10. Follow-Up

Last, BUT not least, follow-up! Immediately send a thank-you to all the attendees. The purpose is not to just thank them for participating, but to highlight points from the meeting. Perhaps highlight a few attendees and their contribution to the meeting. Then, briefly recap the meeting, reinforce what was accomplished and what is to be accomplished.

Ensure to let everyone know the steps for the next meeting. Try to schedule the next meeting early on. Outline the actions needed and by whom. Also give due-dates for information or actions that is needed. Send a reminder to the individuals asking about their commitment about XYZ one week or whatever time frame is appropriate. Let everyone know you have an open-door policy and that you welcome constructive feedback on the current or future meetings.

Oh, and By-The-Way! If you must cancel a meeting do so. If it’s the last minute or same day, don’t just email, text and/or call each attendee. You never know where everyone is at that time.

To read more blogs on the topics of Business Etiquette and Protocol, click here. Keep in mind that we are constantly adding new blogs so be sure to check back!

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