At the King’s Centre, Oxford, we regularly provide external meeting space for organisations to hold off-site meetings, corporate away-days, training days, board meetings, committee meetings and the like.
The needs and objectives of our guests can vary. Some enjoy the flexibility of space we can offer, while others do not have the required meeting room space at their own office. Additionally, many organisations enjoy the benefits of an off-site meeting for the opportunity to step back, think and plan.
Some of our guests have asked us for advice on how they can maximise their meetings and ensure they are effective, regardless of the number of attendees.
Here are our top five tips to make your meeting a success.
1. SET OBJECTIVES
Firstly, it is important that the reason for the meeting is clear and defined. It is worth taking some time to write why you would like to meet with people and what you are looking to achieve. By being clear on what you are looking to achieve from the meeting and then sharing this with your attendees it will enable everyone to prepare in advance.
If you start with the end in mind you are stand a much better chance of the meeting being focused, achieving successful input and in-turn useful outputs.
2. RELEVANT ATTENDEE LIST
Sometimes meetings can become unfocused when too many people are present, or people are invited who are not necessarily relevant to the topic of discussion. Focus your time on creating a guest list that is truly relevant, challenge yourself and make sure you only invite people that fit the bill.
Begin by creating a ‘must have’ attendee list followed by a ‘nice to have’ list. The former should have the greatest impact on your meeting. By defining your guest list early, you can also ensure you hire the right sized meeting room to suit your requirements.
3. SET THE FORMAT
Go back to your objectives and then think about what sort of meeting will help you ensure you achieve the goals you set out in point one. Think about how you can inspire your group and how you can get them to interact and provide the input you need.
Also consider the little touches that will make your meeting stand out and be well received. Make sure everyone receives a warm welcome and there is good catering and nice facilities. Consider whether name badges are required and what level of catering you require. If it is an important meeting you may wish to invest in a more impressive menu, for example.
Clear communication is key before, during and after the meeting. Once you have defined what you want to achieve from the meeting it is important you communicate this effectively to your guest list. Create a key message and share an agenda, if required. If you create a buzz around your meeting in advance it will help you minimise the risk of drop-outs and ensure better overall participation. Also ensure you send a reminder of the meeting nearer the date and ask guests for their dietary requirements.
At the meeting ensure you provide a warm welcome and make your guests feel at home. Make sure everyone has been introduced and been offered a drink before the meeting starts. By helping people relax you will achieve more input during your meeting. Once the meeting starts keep it focused on the key objectives and follow your agenda. Keep each discussion point focused to ensure your meeting remains energised and meaningful. After the meeting follow up by thanking people for attending and sharing the key outputs and any to-do lists, if relevant.
Be prepared for the unexpected and double-check everything. Inviably guests will change their minds on their catering choices or forget to bring print-outs of paperwork. Speak to the team at the meeting venue in advance and make sure there is flexibility on catering and scope to manage last minute changes. The key to a successful meeting is preparation, organisation, communication and a positive attitude!
At the King’s Centre, Oxford we have two large convention halls and 10 support rooms providing almost unlimited flexibility, from one-to-one meetings to events for 1,000. Our meeting rooms are fully equipped, and bright and airy spaces and we have an in-house catering team. We are based in the heart of the city, just a 10-minute canal-side walk from Oxford rail station, or 6 minutes from the city’s efficient and frequent Park & Ride stop.
If you would like more advice on hosting a meeting, or to discuss holding a meeting at the King’s Centre, Oxford, please contact Sedia Rogers via: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01865 297400