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Why You Should Write Down a Plan Before a Business Meeting

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

A Guest Post by Julie Petersen

If you are meeting with potential clients or associates, then your business meeting plan should include methods for selling and promoting yourself or your brand. If your business meeting is with your own staff or members of the same company, then your meeting plan should look more like a theater schedule. How well you plan, and how comprehensively you plan, depends upon what sort of outcome you are looking for. If you are aching to sell an idea or a product, then a reactive and comprehensive plan should be created. If you are meeting with people in your own company, then your plan should contain a meeting structure and important points that must be covered.

A Bullet-Point Reminder May Be All That You Need

If you are heading a meeting and you are fairly passionate and driven about the subject(s) of your meeting, then you will not need a large and/or structured plan. You will already be aware of the larger and broader aspects of your meeting topics, and you will already have all the information required for your meeting. A simple bullet point list will remind you of each topic and its key features. The bullet points may be used as prompts during your meeting, or may act more like an agenda. A short list of topics that require covering will help make sure you cover every element that you intend within your business meetings.

A More Detailed Plan Is Required For Multi-Faceted Meetings

There is a chance that your meeting will have multiple elements and parts to it, to the point where you need a plan in order to cover each element sufficiently. A more detailed meeting plan is also required if you have numerous departments that need or require input. A structure may be required in order to help maintain order, especially since each department and/or meeting member has his or her own agenda.

A Time Schedule May Keep Things Moving And In Order

You may require a plan for your business meeting because you may lose control of your meeting if you do not plan accordingly. Nobody wants a 45-minute meeting to turn into a three-hour meeting. Create a time schedule and budget a certain amount of time for each topic. Sticking to the time budget/schedule will make it more difficult for one person or group to dominate the meeting and take up all of its time. In addition, a time budget may help keep things moving if the meeting starts to become a little slow or if topics start to become a little stale.

Plans For Measurement And Tracking

The need for a plan may not stem from the meeting or the topics it covers;it may stem from your need to track and measure progress regarding your business operations, business results, and appraising your staff. Your plan may mention the various players within the meeting, and then specify what results they are supposed to bring to the table. Your plan may also specify how you intend to note and track results during the meeting. You may need to come up with a method for recording the results presented during a meeting, and amend your method for recording results during the work day.

Outline Your Expectations To Help Avoid Deviations And Increase Focus

You may use your business meeting plan as a tool to help lead the meeting. Instead of writing a plan that you follow personally, you may create a presentation that you show to all of the members of your meeting. Managers and business leaders have been doing something similar for years. Some create a simple bullet point list of items that the meeting will cover so that members may bring the correct items to the meeting. Others create a meeting plan that looks more like a spider diagram so that people know which topics may be discussed. Others create a plan where members of the meeting are given a slot of time where they are allowed to present their results and raise their concerns.

Plan Your Meeting After This Meeting

Create a plan that also accommodates the next plan you write for your future meetings. As you are running through your meeting, you should consider what will occur in the next meeting. The most obvious example is follow ups. You will have to follow up on what is said in your current meeting and check to see if what is proposed actually comes to pass. You will need to plan your coming meeting while also considering your plan for the meeting after your next meeting. Your plan needs to plan for the next business meeting plan.

A Plan May Be Used As A Tool Through Which You Lead

Managing employees and members of a meeting may be difficult in some circumstances. There are members who like to make the meeting all about him or her, and there are others who use meetings as a social event. Simply install the idea that meetings must follow a plan and a schedule in order to reign in the more disruptive elements in your meeting or group. For example, when somebody starts deep discussions about minor elements of a meeting topic, then you may mention that the group should return to the chief topic in hand in order to keep to the meeting schedule.

Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail

Despite the fact that this age-old advice sounds correct, this turn of phrase is quite false. If you know what you want and you know what you need to do to get it, then a plan is little more than a thought experiment. When a person is already passionate about an issue, then he or she has already considered all possibilities in his or her head. The same can be true for you during your meeting; if you are passionate, then you will not need a plan. You can get exactly what you want from a business meeting without a plan, but planning itself may act as a good thought experiment. It may help you examine all the angles and may help you recognize and/or address any objections or obstacles.


Though she spends most of her working week writing for a best essay writing service reviews 2017 website, Julie is also a fine division head, she is a consummate team leader, and driven process worker.

 
This post is part 17 of 17 in the series Make Meetings Work

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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