Envision's blog contains a series of posts about how to best run your conferences, business etiquette, tips for keeping your meetings productive, and more.

Art of the Quarterly Meeting

As first appeared in the Nashville Business Journal on December 16, 2014:

Quarterly meetings are tricky.

They sound stuffy, repetitive and obligatory. But the main goals of reviewing the past quarter and planning ahead for the next one are vital to any successful organization. Done right, the meeting can also be an opportunity to really connect with your boss, employee or colleague and build motivation.

Go Off-Site

Most offices have a boardroom set aside for meetings, though organizations should consider options for quarterly or monthly meetings held off-site. Getting all your top executives or a particular team seated comfortably in the same room is just the first step to cut down on distractions and set the stage for a successful quarter ahead.

A national survey of meeting planners found that 63 percent say meetings outside of the office are more productive, and 67 percent said they would book meetings outside of their normal workspace to enhance their company's image. (For more on how to choose the right location, click here.)

Set the Agenda

  • Pro tip: restrict both the number of issues considered, and the number of people invited. The Harvard Business Review suggests aiming more for a carefully planned strategy session, and avoiding a "town meeting" for maximum productivity.
  • Confer with other speakers. Touch base about their message's main points, gather any info that will need to be distributed before or during the meeting. Decide how much time each person will speak and whether they need time for interaction afterward.
  • The agenda is one of the most important components of a successful meeting. Allow time to review your previous quarterly meeting — which goals and strategies worked and which didn't — and acknowledge key players in the company's success. Outline challenges and goals ahead (just a few of each). Build in brainstorming sessions, and clearly communicate key decisions. You might even want to plan a way for participants to suggest key issues they would like to see discussed at the next quarterly meeting.

Follow Up

Immediately send out key points for review: who is in charge of what, which teams are working on which goals. Halfway through the quarter, send out the invite to the next quarterly meeting and restate the key goals from the last meeting.

You've got 90 days: ready, set, GO!

Olivia Tomlin is the vice president of development and operations at Envision Conference Center in Brentwood, Tenn.

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