1. Decide what type of meeting you are going to have, and set goals.
- Informational - To notify a group of people something at the same time.
- Creative - To solicit ideas from people.
- Decision - To get a group of people to agree upon something during a group discussion.
- Motivational - To encourage or scare people into doing something.
- Required - The partnership agreement or business charter of some organization types requires the holding of regular meetings, even if most discussions between members are ongoing and informal.
2. Determine who you will invite to the meeting.
If you have never met with the participants before, learn about them.
3. Determine the roles, and ask participants to accept the roles.
Plan breaks if the meeting length warrants it.
5. Pick a location and/or the types of attendance you will support:
- In person
- Conference Call
- Video Conference
- Online meeting/webinar
Find out what the official or unofficial dress code is, and plan your outfit accordingly. Include this in your notice to others if applicable. The problem of maintaining modesty and decreasing distraction while seated women wear skirts will exist as long as women wear skirts to meetings. Depending on the configuration of the room, this may or not matter. Some tables offer drop-down privacy guards on the far side of the table so that people across the way can't see up women's skirts. If you offer or send a photo of the location to participants ahead of time, not only can they mentally prepare for the meeting in general, but sensible women can use that information to dress accordingly.
If you have never used conferencing technology, experiment with it.
6. Invite Participants
Prepare and distribute notice that includes the date, time, agenda, and location, giving people ample time to prepare.
Attach the minutes of the previous meeting to the invitation, if applicable.
7. Prepare for the Meeting
- Get basic items in place ahead of time: Chairs, table, any needed equipment, pens, paper, pitcher of water, glasses.
- Make any necessary catering arrangements.
- For phone, video, and computer technology, determine who your tech support person is and how they will support you before, during, and after the meeting.
- Determine the contact information, method, and protocol for any remote attendance. For example, will people call into a centralized conference call number, will you be expected to call a conference room at the start of the meeting, do people log into a webinar, etc.
- Create and distribute any materials that need to be reviewed before or at the meeting.
- If necessary, practice a run through of the technology and/or what you plan to say at the meeting ahead of time.
- Attempt to anticipate what might be said and plan your responses.
- Before the meeting, check the news to see if there is anything that is relevant to the meeting happening in the world or to the meeting invitees.
- Remind participants about the meeting 24 hours ahead of time, or the morning of.
- Ensure that your body, clothes, and breath do not have foul odor.
8. Run the meeting
- As people gather, document who is in attendance by writing down names and/or circulating a piece of paper so that each person can sign their attendance. Consult a lawyer to determine if a person's presence should be documented with their own handwriting.
- Set an example of etiquette by proactively announcing any anticipated cell phone or other type of meeting interruption. Proactively setting general meeting ground rules helps to set the tone, establish leadership, and fairly warns people of expectations so that they do not have to experience the possible humiliation of correction. Exceptional circumstances should be communicated well before meeting day.
- Call the meeting to order.
- Announce who is in attendance and who is absent.
- Clarify any roles such as minute taking or time keeping so that the people are prepared to do so.
- Run the meeting
- Assign any action points and who will be responsible.
- Cover Any Other Business
- Suggest next meeting time and place.
9. After the meeting
Depending on the situation, a hand-written thank you can make a difference.