Hosting a business meeting can seem stressful, whether you're holding a meeting to a potential new client or holding a conference to share ideas amongst other business minded individuals, whatever the purpose of your big meeting, you will certainly want to make a good impression on your attendees.
If you’re trying to secure their business, this can be even more nerve wracking, so it is important to prepare effectively ahead of your big event.
Here are some tips to make ensure that your business meeting goes smoothly:
- Plan well in advance. Make sure that you schedule the meeting well in advance. Give yourself as much time as possible to prepare. This is important as so much goes in to planning a successful business conference or meeting - from the venue, the guest speakers, your attendees, and of course, the presentation material itself. This is not only beneficial for yourself, but it gives your attendees plenty of time to fit that date in to their busy schedules, making it more likely that they can attend.
- Make sure that everybody gets the invite. You should ensure that you send out invitations to the meeting in plenty of time before the date. It is up to yourself how you decide to send out invites - via email or a letter in the mail is usually best. If you do not hear from the person, it does not harm to follow them up with a quick phone call to try and get some confirmation on their attendance. You should also remind the attendees of the time and place that the meeting is being held, in the week leading up to the meeting. This will jog anybody’s memories who may have forgotten. Don't forget to provide in your invite any details on how to find your conference venue, and any transport links for those who may be travelling from further afield to attend your event.
- Have the right equipment ready. There is nothing worse than trying to present at the meeting and finding that technology fails you. If you’re using projector equipment, make sure that this is ready to go, has been tested beforehand, and that you are confident using it. Technology is a great aid for any meeting, but it can let you down, so make sure that a technical expert is on hand to fix any problems quickly, should anything go wrong unexpectedly.
- Refreshments. Remember to schedule time during the meeting to allow your guests to take a quick break and grab a drink. It's important you think ahead about when to schedule an interlude; otherwise you could find yourself with distracted attendees, or your meeting running over the allotted time.
- Minutes of the meeting. You should ensure that you gather minutes of the meeting afterwards to reflect on what has been discussed. If you do not minute the meeting, make sure that there is somebody on hand to do so. It can be very easy to forget what you have discussed, especially intricacies. Review the minutes and share them with other attendees of the meeting so that they too can think further about what has been discussed, ensuring everybody gets the most out of the meeting
- Follow-up. At the end of the meeting, you might like to arrange a time to speak to the attendees in more detail. Perhaps you could offer to call them, or you may want to even arrange a follow-up meeting for the next month. Make sure that if you do this, you stick to your word and remember to contact them, as this gives a good impression of you and your business.