The early bird catches the worm, so they say, and the savvy manager knows that scheduling a morning business meeting can pay terrific dividends.
While not everyone can claim to be morning people or even vaguely bright eyed and bushy-tailed, the reality is that working the brain first thing in the morning while refreshed from sleep can provide more stimulation and a greater chance of good ideas and action.
So if you need to gather a team together, here are some ideas on how to plan a morning business meeting:
- Schedule the start of the meeting before the normal start of the working day. For example, if your staff start work at 9am, ask the participants to be in the office by 8.30am or even earlier. That earlier start is communicating to them that this meeting is something different, it’s not part of the usual working day and therefore requires different thinking and different behaviour. You’re already encouraging them to treat this meeting as something special and hopefully their input will also be significant.
- Provide refreshments! Again this is all part of suggesting to your employees that this meeting isn’t just part of the office furniture. You’re asking them to begin their working day earlier, something that may be inconvenient to some staff, so smooth over any resentment or negativity by giving them breakfast. After all, a good breakfast is a great start to the day. Coffee, tea and croissants are perfect for such an occasion.
- Prepare an agenda for the meeting and stick to it. You need to demonstrate your purpose from the start. If staff have been asked to prepare their input, schedule enough time for each person to speak and while encouraging discussion, do keep to the topic in hand.
- However, you have to demonstrate that the meeting is inextricably linked to the wider business. Discuss its significance in the wider scheme of things and what its outcomes will mean for the future. Again, encourage discussion and feedback, and take note of any concerns or ideas that employees raise. Encouraging feedback helps employees feel valued and that their contribution matters. This can be a great motivating factor and lead to improvements in their overall standard of work.
- Remain positive throughout. Where the subject matter of the meeting may be contentious, you can expect negative reactions or conflict and in such a scenario it’s essential to maintain positive. To achieve the outcomes you want and expect, you’ll need to take your staff with you and you’ll only do this by providing leadership and a can-do attitude.
- End the meeting by asking staff, where possible, to begin acting immediately on any ideas and suggestions that have been thrown up. Again, that will maintain the positive attitude and ethos of the meeting and, as the subject remains fresh in everyone’s mind, you can have high expectations of success and participation.
- Follow up on the meeting’s agenda within one day and again within one week. This kind of catch-up session can bring everyone up to date with what’s been achieved and what matters are still outstanding.
When planning a morning business meeting, stay focused – and keep your staff sweet with those breakfast refreshments.