If there is one thing that some people like less than attending meetings, it is planning a meeting!  In order for your meetings to be successful, meaningful and have a good return on investment, there need to be several factors taken into consideration. 

Keep it simple

Rather than viewing your meeting as giving a crash course on all of the ins and outs of a complicated task, try to break the meeting topics down into manageable chunks of information.  Determine the goal of your meeting and create an outline or flow chart to get to that goal. 

Use graphics, handouts and other tools wisely

Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, try to avoid the temptation to dazzle your audience with your presentations and all of the visual effects that you know how to use on your laptop.  With a few well plans graphic illustrations, you can get your point across quite well and without overloading the senses of your audience.  Provide them hard copies or email your presentation after the meeting so that they can reference the materials at a later date.

Don’t plan for a marathon

If you have a lot of information to share, consider having a five minute break every sixty to ninety minutes.  This will allow your audience to stretch their legs and the information to sink in.  If you go for a marathon presentation, you will undoubtedly be giving a lot of information and need to reset.  Those on the receiving end can feel as though they are faced with the task of trying to get a glass of water from a fire hydrant using an eye dropper.

Choose your location well

One can certainly understand that having an important business meeting in an amusement park would most likely result in a unproductive end result.  Such should be the consideration for site selection for your meetings.  If you host the meeting in house, a conference room is typical.  If you need to have your meeting offsite, you can find places that will be able to accommodate your space, electrical, food, etc. needs.

Ask yourself – do you really need a meeting?

Some people and organizations (if you are one of these folks, we won’t tell), thrive on frequent meetings.  These can vary in their effectiveness.  Sometimes, a meeting could be replaced by a simple memo, online teleconference or small group training session and have the same or better ROI.