How To Organize a Meeting in 8 Steps (Plus Benefits and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 16, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Meetings are important for sharing ideas within a team and establishing an organization's expectations or goals. Organizing a successful meeting requires advanced preparation and consideration of different needs. Understanding how to organize a meeting can help you plan efficient meetings that communicate information effectively and stay on schedule. In this article, we discuss the benefits of organizing a meeting and provide a detailed list of steps for how to organize a meeting.

Related: Planning Meetings: How To Manage and General Meeting Tips

Benefits of organizing a meeting

Organizing meetings and preparing for them in advance can offer a company several benefits. By organizing a meeting, you can save time looking for materials and equipment. Staying organized allows you to know exactly what topics you want to discuss and when you want to discuss them. An organized meeting can promote collaboration within a team and help you share information and collect feedback. You may determine your priorities for the meeting beforehand and structure it in an efficient manner.

Related: Meeting Tips To Get You Working More Efficiently

How to organize a meeting

Review this list of steps for organizing a successful meeting:

1. Define your objectives

The first step to organizing a meeting is defining its purpose. Consider whether holding a meeting is necessary, or if you might accomplish the same objective with a conference call, email or memo. If the meeting is necessary to meet your goal, you can determine what information you want to exchange during it. You might plan a meeting to convey information, make a decision with a team, solve a problem, develop coworker relationships or share ideas. After establishing the objective of the meeting, you can begin planning for it.

2. Decide who attends the meeting

Who you invite to the meeting might depend on its purpose. If your goal is to share ideas, you might invite a large group of people rather than holding an intimate meeting. Problem-solving and decision-making meetings might require a smaller list of attendees. When identifying meeting participants, you can consider who might provide valuable insight to discussions, who the topic may affect and who requires the information to complete their responsibilities.

3. Assign roles and responsibilities

If necessary, assign any roles or responsibilities to meeting participants. This can help attendees understand their specific focus and contributions to the meeting. You might have multiple people with the same role that can work together to accomplish their tasks. Designating specific responsibilities may improve the efficiency of the meeting and the engagement of participants. Here are some common roles that you might assign:

  • Leader: The leader is usually the person who plans the meeting. They are responsible for deciding the goals, agenda and participants of a meeting.

  • Facilitator: A facilitator guides the discussion during a meeting and makes sure the team addresses all parts of an issue. They help reduce confusion and ensure everyone listens to a speaker.

  • Recorder: A recorder takes notes during the meeting, capturing important ideas, decisions and conclusions. They compile notes in standard formatting and distributes them after the meeting.

  • Timekeeper: Timekeepers regulate the pace of the meeting, ensuring it stays within the scheduled time and moving the discussion at an efficient pace. They may also manage equipment or visual aids, such as whiteboards or slideshows.

  • Contributor: During the meeting, a contributor offers input to discussions. They present ideas with the meeting's agenda and purpose in mind.

  • Expert: You might invite an expert to the meeting to share their knowledge on a specific topic.

4. Select the location and time

Survey the availability of participants when planning a time for your meeting. Try to keep the meeting within the scheduled timeframe to keep attendees attentive and increase engagement. Select a relevant and convenient meeting place that gives consideration to the meeting's purpose and participants. You might choose a location depending on its size, accessibility, comfort and equipment capabilities. Confirm the availability of the meeting place in advance to ensure you can access it during the scheduled time.

5. Consider different needs

Take the different needs of participants into consideration when planning each aspect of a meeting. Consider how often your team requires a break, how they process and communicate information and how to keep different people engaged. Including varying activities throughout the meeting can help accommodate a variety of needs. For example, you might present a slideshow with talking points then ask your team to walk around and meet with other participants to discuss the material in small groups.

Account for accessibility requirements when deciding the location and preparing materials. You might invite attendees to share their needs with you before the meeting if they're comfortable doing so.

6. Prepare the meeting agenda

Create the agenda for your meeting in advance. Consider whether you want to plan it the week, day or morning before. Understand what you want to discuss and determine how you want to structure the meeting. You might provide a demonstration, break into small discussion groups, conduct surveys, have a guest speaker or use visual aids to stimulate interest in the meeting topics. Assemble any materials and equipment you plan to use in your presentation.

You can create a written outline to help you structure the meeting and maintain its focus. Decide how much time you want to dedicate to each topic. The agenda might include the meeting's title, time, date, location, discussion items and participant roles.

7. Distribute materials in advance

Make employees aware of the meeting by sending them an invitation. Consider sending important materials to meeting participants in advance, such as the agenda and your expectations. You might distribute these materials a few days or a week before the meeting. This helps participants prepare to have productive conversations during the meeting. Sending materials before the meeting might allow you to clarify misunderstandings and anticipate questions. You might ask participants for feedback on how to improve the meeting or what to include so you can make minor adjustments beforehand.

8. Send a meeting recap

Send a follow-up email after the meeting to each participant to summarize the information you covered. This helps reinforce important discussion points and conclusions. You can use this message to remind your team of their responsibilities or tasks delegated during the meeting. Include next steps and any important deadlines in your email. You might address whether you need to schedule additional meetings.

Related: How To Encourage Participation From Employees in Meetings

Tips for organizing a meeting

You can use these tips to plan an effective meeting:

Maintain the focus of the meeting

You can maintain the focus of the meeting by ensuring that conversations apply to the information you present. Consider preparing some topics for discussion to stimulate relevant and productive conversations between participants. This helps the meeting stay within its scheduled time and ensures that attendees leave the meeting with useful information.

Use facilitation techniques

You can use different facilitation techniques to incorporate variety into a meeting and maintain engagement. For example, you might use a discussion circle to gather ideas from each attendee without interruption. You can also rely on short games to increase interest and convey information in a creative way. Consider which facilitation techniques works best with the meeting's goals and participants.

Related: How To Run a Business Meeting: Types and Best Practices

Include time for questions

When scheduling a meeting, try to include time for questions that participants may have. At the end of the meeting, ask whether there are any questions and offer clarification. This provides you with the opportunity to clarify any misunderstanding about the material you provided during the meeting. You might invite participants to contact you with questions they think of at a later time.

Take notes

Take notes after a meeting or assign someone to take notes during it. You might record these notes by hand or use a digital tool and keep them on your computer. Keeping detailed notes can help you recognize patterns from past meetings, identify common questions or concerns and improve your strategy for future meetings. You can share these notes with each of the meeting's attendees.

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