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8 practical tips for a foolproof business meeting

How to get the most out of meetings with suppliers
By Entrepreneur Staff |

Business meetings are unpredictable: they can be extremely productive or crushingly boring.

Here are eight tips to make sure your meeting is a success:

Before the meeting

• Know what it’s all about
A genuine business meeting has a purpose, so make sure you know what your purpose is.

• Think about it
Plan your meeting based on the issue or issues you want to address. Ask yourself: Will it be formal, casual, public or exclusive? Visualize how you want the meeting to proceed, and prepare supplies and equipment.  

• Send out invitations
Send out your memo, letter or e-mail one week before in-house meetings and two to four weeks before any meeting requiring travel. Include the agenda and the names of the participants, and ask the addressees to reply.

• Think ahead
If you need to call a teleconference or videoconference, note the time differences and send
all materials in advance. Have a backup plan in case the lines go dead during the meeting. And since conferencing can be expensive, stick to your agenda.

During the meeting

• Be prompt
Late meetings suggest that you’re not in control, so make sure you start on time. Designate someone to take the minutes.

• Take charge
Encourage full participation and keep the talks on track, but take a break after every hour or hour and a half. Announce what time the meeting will resume—not how long the break will be. A 10-minute break usually means a 20-minute one.

After the meeting

Follow up
Send a recap memo to all participants. This can also serve as your thank-you note for their attendance.

Rate yourself
Give yourself an honest evaluation of how your meeting went, and then decide how you can improve on the next one.



This article was originally published in the June 2005 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.

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