How many times have you heard; “Small meetings are just as much work as large meetings”! Effective use of meeting time sets a positive, productive tone for interaction among participants. An effective meeting leader will keep participants on track ensuring everyone is invested in the topic of the meeting and in the follow-up.

Planning an effective meeting is all about the preparation, leadership, group participation, time management and a concise understanding of what the meeting is to accomplish. And, let’s not forget that feedback is an effective way to measure your responsiveness both during and after the meeting.

Listed below are some great ideas to help you with planning smaller, meaningful and productive meetings.

1. Select a venue style, location, and ambiance that suits both your program and guest profile well. It will encourage comfortable discussion in a non-intimidating environment.

2.  Get “outside” when you can! When appropriate, ensure you have access to outdoor space for breaks and team building ideas.

3.  Ensure you set realistic budgets when researching properties as venues enjoy being able to provide the best value for available spend.

4.  Location, Location, Location! Do you want to be close to the office? Do you want privacy? What are the travel times and costs involved?

5.  Are you flexible with dates? Small meetings don’t always have to be short term, but if you are flexible, venues may provide better pricing and premium space.

6.  Set a realistic agenda allowing time for more group discussion and problem-solving.

7.  Ensure the facility Sales Manager understands your needs; can they suggest ways to help improve the meeting, can they provide estimates on pricing, can they give you valuable suggestions on helping you achieve the overall level of success you are looking for.

8. The key to ordering food for small team meetings is to keep the menu selection functional. You don’t want the catering to interfere with your meeting,  so it’s best to avoid formal meals. If a more formal lunch is requested then try to book an adjacent room for the meal so that attendees can get back to the meeting as soon as possible.

Remember small meetings make it possible to give participants more personal attention, use this to your advantage in communicating your agenda. In fact, circulate your agenda in advance to allow participants to prepare.  This will also explain the goal of your meeting to help achieve more during your meeting with effective time use in prioritizing goals.

As a meeting leader, you should summarize assigned action items with target completion dates that are measurable, (things that get measured get done). Holding small team meetings helps focus on your goals accomplishing top priorities and accelerating the growth of the organization. Small meeting structures are relatively simple but they require an effective disciplined strategy to ensure your strategic planning efforts create the most effective team planning with goals and objectives. The more people know what to expect from the meeting, the more prepared they will be to get down to business.