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4 Ways to Make Meeting Planning (Almost) Effortless


AUTHOR RASHELLE ISIP / CATEGORY PRODUCTIVITY / PUBLISHED: JUL-15-2019

About the author

Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps individuals and businesses better manage their time, energy, and resources. Her work has been featured in a variety of online and print media including Fast Company, The Atlantic, Business Insider, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, and Cosmopolitan. Visit her online at www.TheOrderExpert.com.

Meeting planning requires careful coordination of different moving parts. And if you’ve ever planned a meeting before, then you know you have a limited amount of time in which to work.

The good news is that it is possible to streamline the meeting planning process. The secret lies in creating a series of solid and reusable planning tools.

Once you’ve got your meeting planning toolkit prepared, you can spend the bulk of your time making meeting arrangements, rather than simply considering them.

Here are four practical tips to help make your meeting planning (almost) effortless:

Effortless Meetings

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Develop a planning timeline.

A meeting planning timeline not only gives you a bird’s eye view of your planning efforts, but it ensures tasks will be performed at the correct point in time. You can begin the timeline process by asking yourself the following questions: “What items need to be taken care of in advance of the meeting?,” “What items need to be prepared for the meeting itself?,” “What items need to be addressed as soon as the meeting has concluded?” Once you’ve got your general planning structure in place, you can create a day-by-day timeline and add-in more detail for each of your tasks.

Meetings should be like salt - a spice sprinkled carefully to enhance a dish, not poured recklessly over every forkful. Too much salt destroys a dish. Too many meetings destroy morale and motivation.
— Jason Fried

Standardize meeting logistics.

Chances are, there are already some existing patterns in your planning efforts. You just need to take some time to identify these patterns and incorporate them into your work. Consider past meetings you’ve recently organized or attended. What do these meetings have in common? What information can you extract and standardize for future plans? For example, if you regularly hold meetings in a handful of conference rooms, can you identify a first, second, third, and fourth choice for your meetings? How about creating a list of preferred catering services or restaurants for breakfast, coffee break, or lunch meals? What about devising a list of must-have office supplies or materials for each meeting?

Create a meeting agenda template.

You can save a lot of time and energy planning meetings using an agenda template. Simply open up a blank word processing document and type in entries at the top of the page for the following: Meeting Title, Meeting Date, Meeting Time, and Meeting Location. Further down the page, list out the start and end times of the meeting, as well as agenda items, agenda items owners, and the specific amount of time for each agenda item. Save the file as a template and store on your computer in an easy-to-access location.

Compile a meeting preparation checklist.

A simple checklist is a great way to double- and triple-check your meeting preparations and ensure nothing has been overlooked. Be sure to include basic meeting preparation items such as creating an agenda, booking meeting space, sending out invitations to attendees, making refreshment arrangements, assembling meeting materials, and setting up audio visual equipment. It’s also a good idea to include a checkbox or two for additional meeting considerations, such as securing a conference call line or setting up meeting space in a specific layout or configuration.

About the Author

About the author

Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps individuals and businesses better manage their time, energy, and resources. Her work has been featured in a variety of online and print media including Fast Company, The Atlantic, Business Insider, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, and Cosmopolitan. Visit her online at www.TheOrderExpert.com.

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