Running Business Meetings

Business meetings may involve just a few individuals, or at times, many people. Not everybody is born with the talent to address so many people, especially when the object is to promote an idea or product or explain some financial statement. It may involve the takeover of a business, starting of new business, or negotiations of a deal. It may be called to obtain the approval of shareholders to sell assets of the company, or raise share capital. It may be necessary to consult experts or partners on any business matter, or plan how to deploy surplus monies on hand.

Even briefing meetings and brainstorming meetings for coming out of any crisis can be classified as business meetings. Periodical review of productivity, marketing, and financial liabilities, etc., are all part and parcel of business meetings, as are pitch sessions. Likewise, meetings where personnel requirements, and other issues related to personnel are discussed also qualify as business meetings. In addition to these, there might be creditors, and debtors meetings.

Based on the type of business that is to be conducted, meetings may be classified as conferences, seminars, board meetings, annual general meetings, extraordinary general meetings, creditors, meetings, debtors meeting and sales meetings.

Any business meeting should be conducted with a predefined agenda. This is absolutely essential otherwise the matters that are discussed at the meeting may end up completely overshadowing the important matters that need to be resolved immediately. The agenda may be accompanied by some documents providing details and explanations on various items in the agenda. This enables the recipients to mull over the contents, and come up with their input on the matter.

A reasonable notice needs to be given so that no stakeholder feels excluded from the meeting. The time and venue of the meeting too needs to be clearly defined in such notice.

There are legal provisions for calling shareholders meetings, and board meetings. When the meeting involves just a few individuals, like a board meeting, then such notice may be given verbally. But it is always advisable to have documentary evidence, or an email to prove that the meeting was called, and reasonable notice was given.

Since one discussion can lead to another and the meetings can end up nowhere, it is always better to conclude matters that can be resolved quickly first, and keep complex matters that require extensive discussions for later part of the meeting. For ensuring this, there has to be somebody who conducts the meeting, and opens each item for discussion and resolution. It is the responsibility of this person to ensure that the matters discussed do not deviate from what is stated in the notice or agenda. The person leading the meeting needs to ensure that any new matters if made are duly noted so that another meeting may be called, and opinions of all concerned on the matter can be obtained.

Another problem with large gathering is that people tend to repeat the same questions or the same opinions. The person conducting the meeting needs to ensure that this is minimized, as everybody’s time is valuable. Using a timer helps.