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How to get the most out of your business meetings

Our refurbished meeting room in the Churchill Square Business Centre, Kings Hill
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Our refurbished meeting room in the Churchill Square Business Centre, Kings Hill
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Meetings have a role in the working day that sometimes simply can’t be replicated in any other way: they enable you to get to know your colleagues, clients and suppliers, thrash out ideas and tackle problems.  But poorly run meetings can just be a frustration – one survey found that more than two-thirds of professionals lose time every week due to unnecessary or cancelled meetings.  Here’s how to get the most out of your meetings so they add value to your business.

The State of Meetings 2019 report by online scheduling service Doodle found that the cost of poorly organised meetings in the UK will reach $58 billion this year.  That’s an awful lot of hot air and lost productivity!  In fact, 44% of the 6,500 respondents complained that poorly organised meetings meant they didn’t have enough time to do the rest of their work.

The same report also found that 76% respondents preferred face-to-face meetings over video calls, conference calls and instant messaging, so meetings continue to play a valid role in business – but you need to approach them in the right way.

Plan for the meeting

Whether you’re running the meeting, or are a guest, it’s important that you come equipped. If you organise the meeting, make sure you’ve sorted an itinerary and circulated it beforehand, so everyone knows what is being discussed and what contribution is expected of them. Jot down points that need addressing, as well as answers to potential questions. Make sure that you go into the appointment knowing what will be discussed and what solutions you can bring to the table. Conversely, if you’re a guest, no matter how junior you are, if you’ve been invited to a meeting, it’s for a reason – so make sure you’ve prepared something to contribute.

Know why everyone is in the room

Doodle’s survey found that 31% of respondents felt that irrelevant attendees slow progress in meetings.  Make sure that everyone in the room has a clear reason for being there, given your agenda and objectives.

Expand your network

Make an effort to chat with and mingle with the new people you meet. In some professions, the only new professionals you’ll ever encounter outside of your office is in meetings, so make sure you take advantage of that. Set aside ten minutes at the start of the meeting for small talk to get acquainted with everybody or try and arrive early to have a quick chat. This is a chance to progress your career, grow your business and build a new professional relationship. However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t fall into the black hole of mindless banter – try not to spend more than five or ten minutes chatting, otherwise you might not get through all of your points during the meeting.

Retain information

Many points can be discussed in a meeting and sometimes it can be difficult to keep on top of everything that’s being covered. Taking notes could be one remedy to this – but don’t make them too detailed or you could lose track of what’s being said. If you struggle with notetaking, then it might be worth recording the meeting with time-stamps where key points are being discussed. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat what they’re saying if you missed it or to explain a point you don’t quite understand.

Keep track of the conversation

Running out of time is a common symptom of an unproductive meeting. One of the main reasons for this is randomly drifting from topic to topic without completing any of them. This can be simply remedied by finding a solution to the current problem before moving onto the next topic. You could track this by writing down the current topic on the whiteboard or giving everybody a copy of the agenda so they know what point is being covered and what you have itemised for later, so they can help maintain the structure.

Finish with a target or goal

Setting SMART goals is one of the best ways to keep productivity levels high. Your main outcome of a meeting should be a set of SMART goals (which you can read more about here) that work towards your ultimate target. After the meeting is complete, send a summary email to the participants with the main points discussed in the meeting and the agreed goals and actions, alongside who is going to deliver them.

Capital Space’s meeting rooms

Most businesses need to hold meetings, but that doesn’t mean you need the expense of maintaining a meeting room seven days a week which you may only use occasionally.  Capital Space have a range of meeting rooms at our business centres across the South East.  These are available to hire for all businesses, with our office, studio, workshop and virtual customers enjoying favourable rates.  Our flexible solutions mean we help you run productive meetings, whether you need to brain storm for a couple of hours or run staff training for a day. We offer meeting rooms which:

  • Are available to hire hourly, on a half day or day basis
  • Vary from small meeting rooms for up to 10 attendees, to large meeting rooms for up to 40 attendees
  • Have a choice of seating plans , from U-shaped to encourage discussion, theatre style for presentations, or boardroom style
  • Have up-to-date audio and visual equipment for your presentations
  • Have free high-speed wireless internet
  • Have plenty of free parking  and are located close to excellent rail and road links
  • Offer hot drinks, snacks and professional catering
  • Are supported by friendly, professional reception teams to welcome your guests

Our simple tricks will help to make sure that any meeting you organise or are a part of runs smoothly, efficiently and heralds productive results – and if they are hosted by Capital Space, you know that you’ll spend the whole meeting in comfort.

To find out how CapitalSpace virtual offices or business premises

could benefit your growing business,

call 0800 107 3667