Meetings are a way of sharing, within a group of individuals, some knowledge about a subject or a problem and of making decisions collectively.
However, meetings are chronophagic (meaning "they eat up a lot of time"). Therefore, it is best to be as brief as possible and run with a high degree of efficiency, in order to reach specific actions to be taken.
The organization of a meeting refers to all actions to be taken in order to organize and carry out a meeting in good conditions, allowing for monitoring of its effects.
This article is a collection of recommendations to help you conduct a meeting.
First of all, the purpose of having a meeting must be clearly reflected in order to avoid succumbing to acute meetingitis, that is too frequent and pointless meetings. You should be able to answer the following questions:
There are also some organization points to consider, such as:
Depending on the number of participants, it is necessary to find a free conference room on a date when the participants are available. It is better to avoid the school vacation periods when possible.
The date of the meeting must be set in advance (at least 15 days sounds good), in order to allow invitations and notices to be sent to the participant within a decent time frame.
The meeting room should be chosen based on the following constraints:
It is important to distribute the agenda to all participants, specifying, amongst other things, the location and starting and ending times of the meeting. When appropriate, pass on an access plan summarizing the main facilities (subway, bus stop, railway station) near the meeting site.
In order to optimize the efficiency of exchanges and increase the participation, you may want to send in advance a preparatory document for the meeting. The information in it may include the context or the main points.
A round-table discussion allows each participant to introduce themselves briefly, thus allowing new people or external participants to know the title of everyone.
It is strongly recommended that you ask participants to avoid using abbreviations and acronyms.
For meetings involving individuals with a particular assignment, it is necessary to circulate a signature sheet to allow financial services to validate the travel costs.
The decisions made in the previous meeting may be reviewed, to refresh the memory of the participants or to monitor the progress of their implementation.
It is desirable to designate a volunteer to draft the report. In the case of a series of meetings, each participant could take a turn as secretary.
Before getting to the core of the matter, it may be useful to briefly recap the meeting's agenda, the time allotted to each subject, and the participants.
The important points should preferably be addressed at the beginning of the meeting, where concentration is at its peak.
In order to put the participants at ease, coffee and/or water can be served at the beginning of the meeting. Additionally, a room of the right size and with the right temperature may improve the efficiency of a meeting.
A decision report, created collectively by all participants, allows you to highlight the major decisions made during the discussions.
In the case of a series of meetings, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of the presence of the participants to agree upon a mutually acceptable date for the subsequent meeting(s).
It is strongly recommended to draft minutes after the meeting, while it is still fresh in your mind. The minutes could include the following:
The minutes have several purposes:
At a minimum, if there are no minutes, it is indispensable to create a simple decision report.
The minutes should be distributed to all participants for validation. After approximately one week, if anyone has proposed any amendments, the final minutes should be re-sent to all participants.
With the pandemic due to COVID-19, virtual conferences are more and more commun, and chances are you have already participated in a Zoom meeting, or wondered how to conduct a Zoom meeting. In order to carry out an online conference, you should keep in mind its advantages and disadvantages, and also, set some rules.
It may be important to set some rules for the meeting but also for yourself.