Planning a meeting with branch managers in attendance is somewhat different to planning a meeting amongst your workforce; however, many of the same rules still apply. Perhaps the biggest difference between planning a meeting for management level staff and one for your subordinates concerns the expectations of the meeting.
Management level personnel generally have higher expectations of meetings – how they’re planned, the expected outcomes, etc – and if you’re the one responsible for planning a meeting where those in attendance are managers themselves, you’ll need to be on your toes.
Conducting an effective meeting entails preparation, and often more preparation is required for a meeting among branch managers than would be required for a meeting among the staff at your branch.
Like yourself, the other branch managers are generally very busy people, so time really is of the essence here, which means that the meeting you plan needs to be conducted in a timely manner with care taken to avoid superfluous points on the agenda.
Preparation and planning
The success of the meeting is dependent to a great extent on the amount of preparation and planning that you put in, and although you’re no doubt very busy with your regular management level tasks and duties it’s imperative that you take the time to prepare and plan the meeting well in advance.
Setting the agenda is among the first things that you should do to prepare for a management level meeting. Your agenda should include a clear definition of the purpose for the meeting, the attendees expected to be present, the attendees who will contribute content to the meeting and a list of the topics that will be discussed – usually listed in order of their importance.
As time is of the essence here, one of the most important considerations you will need to take into account concerns keeping the meeting running on time. Therefore you’ll need to establish time estimates/limits for each topic on the meeting agenda, and be sure to leave yourself a little breathing space so that each topic has time to be adequately addressed.
Depending on the scope of the meeting you might find it necessary to appoint a team to assist you, especially if there’s a need to prepare supplemental materials – charts, diagrams, floor plans, maps, multimedia materials, reports, etc.
The location of the meeting is something else that you’ll also need to give thought to, and in fact, as soon as you have set a date for the meeting to take place you’ll need to start sourcing a location. If you work from a serviced office in a business centre, like the Regus Canada business centres for example, you’ll be able to access conference and meeting space in a variety of layouts, and layouts are something else that you’ll need to take into account, as is catering and support – two additional considerations you can’t afford to overlook.
Conducting the meeting
Since you’re conducting the meeting it’s imperative that you take charge right from the start to keep the meeting running on time; moreover, as you’re conducting the meeting you should also be the first to speak, so address the group and clarify your role in the organisation and as the conductor of the meeting.
Bear in mind that meetings attended by management level staff are different from meetings amongst your staff because they’re not subordinates, but rather equals. This is important to take into account, so don’t establish ground rules for the meeting as you ordinarily would, though still ensure that everyone’s aware that there is an agenda involved and that the meeting should be kept running on time.
This is among the most important points to make with regard to conducting a meeting among branch managers, because different business etiquette is involved – you’re not addressing your staff here but rather your business peers. That doesn’t, however, mean that you won’t need to make polite interjections from time to time to keep the agenda moving forward and the meeting running on time.
These are some of the many considerations you’ll need to take into account when preparing and planning a meeting among branch managers, and depending on the meeting’s agenda, there are likely to be many more.