How To Conduct A Business Meeting: A Step-By-Step Guide

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 28 September 2022

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 offer a convenient setting for a variety of tasks, such as fostering communication and decision-making and improving team-building efforts at work. Organisations can benefit from effective work meetings and by working together as a team. Learning more about these meetings may increase business productivity and help you use this organisational strategy more effectively. In this article, we explain what a business meeting is, outline the steps to help you learn how to conduct a meeting successfully and provide tips on proper etiquette for such a meeting.

What Is A Business Meeting?

A business meeting is an assembly of two or more people to discuss the goals and operations of an organisation or make important decisions. A team of professionals may also gather to discuss a problem, make necessary adjustments or recognise an organisation's accomplishments. These meetings can take place between department heads and their teams, corporate executives and employees or company representatives and clients. You may hold the majority of business meetings in person in an office, but with the development of videoconferencing tools, attendees can also join a business conference remotely. Here are some types of these meetings:

  • Meetings for team building: Team building meetings are a great way to improve employee relationships and loyalty to the company. This kind of meeting is unique because it can occur through outdoor exercise or in an office setting.

  • Meetings for making important decisions: Company executives usually take part in these meetings to make key business decisions about matters affecting the company. This might include decisions about external hires for leadership positions, policy changes, potential department consolidation, downsizing or restructuring in management.

  • Meetings to encourage innovation: This type of meeting allows organisations to listen to employee proposals on how to enhance business practices, which can help enhance productivity. This kind of corporate meeting can generate original and profitable ideas while also making the staff feel appreciated.

  • Meetings for exchanging information: These gatherings provide an alternative to long company memos or emails for facilitating information and also work as brainstorming sessions. Employees can ask questions in person at information-sharing meetings where employers can inform them of new rules or workplace developments.

  • Meetings to resolve problems: Meetings to address issues are typically called in response to an urgent or recurring problem within the organisation. Top managers of the organisation can discuss the issue at these meetings and talk about potential solutions to keep the business operating effectively.

  • Meetings to update status: These business gatherings are essential for monitoring how team assignments are progressing. Heads of departments can review the status of individual tasks and discuss any problems that might hinder team productivity.

Related: How To Introduce Yourself In A Meeting (With Examples)

How To Conduct Meetings In The Workplace

Knowing how to hold a meeting properly can help everyone involved. Here are the steps which can help you conduct a professional meeting effectively:

1. Set and review the agenda for the meeting

Make a list of the key topics you want to discuss in your meeting, then email the participants a copy of your agenda a few days in advance. This can remind them of their commitment and give them time to be ready for the discussion's topics. Review the planned agenda for the meeting and the points you want to focus on before beginning your presentation.

You can then outline the agenda for the meeting on a handout, write it on a whiteboard or discuss it at the start of the meeting. It is critical for all participants to be aware of the purpose of the meeting and what you expect them to accomplish. The meeting agenda serves as a guide for the discussion and can help you address the planned topics on time by minimising diversions in conversions.

Related: How To Create A Board Meeting Agenda (With An Example)

2. Assign someone to take notes

You can designate a note-taker who can quickly take notes and summarise conversations precisely. This individual can type or write the minutes of the meeting for you to review later. These notes can help you observe what topics you discussed and remind attendees of the major points throughout the meeting. At the end of the meeting, you can request that the note taker provide you with the complete minutes of the meeting so that you may distribute them to the other attendees as required.

Related: How To Take Meeting Minutes: A Complete Guide With Examples

3. Be punctual

Being punctual for your meetings is extremely important to create a positive impression. Starting the meeting on time allows you to discuss each topic on the agenda extensively and find a resolution to potential problems. It also helps provide an example to other team members. Starting and finishing on time is equally crucial to ensure optimum workflow, as it helps establish a precise end time to discuss the topics on your agenda and when everyone resumes their assigned tasks.

Related: How To Write A Meeting Agenda: Guide With Tips And Sample

4. Give your presentation

You can make a slide show presentation, print out a copy of your presentation's outline for the attendees of your meeting, and rehearse presenting the slide show to achieve fluency, which often proves crucial for its success. Be sure to communicate your thoughts clearly. You can let attendees ask questions and offer their opinion on the meeting's topic of conversation once you conclude your presentation.

5. Allow others to speak

Show that you value everyone's input by allowing them to speak during a discussion. People may feel hesitant to express thoughts that are outside of their purview or those that reflect their position within an organisation. This may cause people to self-censor, which may hinder innovation and unique approaches to resolving issues or making decisions.

Be clear on the agenda and what you want from the attendees, whether it is to ask them to contribute ideas or ask for their honest opinions on your ideas. Make sure that every participant feels comfortable and confident enough to express their opinions, regardless of their designation or job role. Giving meeting attendees the chance to discuss their thoughts makes them feel appreciated, which might help increase their productivity.

Related: What Is Video Conferencing? (Definition, Benefits And Tips)

6. Make sure everyone contributes

Try to be specific about your expectations. This helps other individuals know what their responsibilities are, often increasing their willingness to contribute. Make it clear whether what you are saying is a directive or an idea. Getting as many perspectives during the meeting as you can is one of the primary tasks of a leader. This enables innovation, fosters communication and helps you solve problems.

The decisions you make as a leader may or may not be a consensus amongst the meeting participants. Be specific and straightforward about whether you seek feedback, want to inform them of new guidelines or delegate tasks to ensure they understand your agenda and to minimise operational inefficiencies effectively.

Related: A Guide To AGM Meetings (With Importance And Agenda)

7. End with a call to action

Spend the concluding minutes of each meeting talking about the next steps. Deciding on the person in charge of respective tasks along with their deadlines is an important component of this discussion. Outline the desired outcomes and assign responsibilities before ending the meeting. For instance, you may ask your attendees to gather information or use the concepts mentioned in the meeting to enhance their sales strategies. Remind them of their upcoming duties and thank them for participating.

If your meeting requires a follow-up, you can do it by sending the participants an email to monitor the progress and assess the meeting's effectiveness.

Related: 10 Of The Best Shared Calendar Apps For Professionals

Tips On Proper Etiquette For A Workplace Meeting

Here are some tips you may consider when planning professional meetings:

  • Dress appropriately. The dress code at your organisation may determine this aspect of the meeting etiquette. Dressing in suitable business clothes for a meeting might act as a statement of respect and professionalism towards meeting participants.

  • Arrive early. Whether you are hosting or attending a work meeting, it is crucial to arrive early. This can give you time to relax, stop and talk to everyone and concentrate on your responsibilities.

  • Greet everyone. You might join in a meeting with personnel from other departments, or in particular situations, your clientele. Begin by shaking each person's hand and introduce yourself if you have not met them before.

  • Practice active listening. Listening carefully to the speaker can be an excellent way to show your respect, as it demonstrates to the speaker that you value their time. This implies that you are giving attention to what they are saying and noting important details.

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