Most employees have a love-hate relationship with business meetings. Some love the ability to bounce ideas off their colleagues, top-up their to-do lists, and get everyone on the same page moving forwards. Others sit there, ruing the day and complaining that the meeting should have just been an email instead.
But whether you are a business meeting fan or foe, there are some essential items that you can’t go without if you want to ensure meetings run as smoothly as possible – and may even convert some naysayers. So, what are the top five essential items for a business meeting?
Some research indicates that the presence of food at a meeting can influence attendance. Indeed, people may be more likely to participate if there is the promise of snacks. But even for those mandatory meetings, food being offered is a goodwill gesture and may improve the mood of those involved.
Early meetings could be an excuse to put on a breakfast spread to invigorate a team for the day. But the jury is out on whether putting on a lavish spread for lunch means employees should skip their sandwiches and work through lunchtime instead. Plus, a spread for external visitors could give you a hint of prestige.
Most companies do offer free tea and coffee (with many choosing expensive machines and top-quality varieties as perks) and sometimes, for Friday meetings at 4 pm, alcohol may be offered. The presence of beverages can help lubricate the flow of the meeting. Caffeine can stimulate, while alcohol may lead to blue-sky thinking.
Coffee and tea are also symbols of formality, yet retain their casualness. Coffee in a meeting is different from a coffee at your desk. It provides the comfort of something you do daily, in a situation that might be more nerve-wracking i.e. presenting ideas to senior leadership. In fact, 68% of respondents in the UK and 59% in China suggested that tea and coffee were crucial to the success of a business meeting. When having external visitors, it is expected that tea and coffee will be on offer.
In this age of technology, most meetings have some form of the digital element. Whether this is a PowerPoint presentation or tablets are needed to immediately bring up information in the room, brainstorming or planning meetings are made exceptionally more effective with gadgets.
For example, you might be looking up insurance to find the best cover and need group input on what that cover should look like. You can search for ultimate insurance coverage on your tablet to find the Errors and Omissions professional liability insurance that would best suit you. Different from general liability insurance, this insurance protects you from professional mistakes i.e. if a PR campaign ends up being damaging, your ads become slanderous, or your accountancy advice leads to bankruptcy.
Never attend a meeting without a notepad. Notebooks and assorted stationery items are crucial. Even if everything is done digitally, the appearance of a notebook gives an air of professionalism and helps to collate and jot down thoughts. Plus, it’s less oppressive for those you’re meeting with if you’re scribbling away than it is if you’re clacking on a laptop.
A Good Attitude
Finally, it’s not an item you can bring with you but having a good attitude is the most important thing to bring to a meeting. Whether you are wooing new clients in the boardroom or are having a mini team debrief, having a sour attitude can impact everyone present. Make sure that, even if you have a strong dislike of meetings, you are being professional and courteous to others. Meetings are often necessary, so a good attitude can get you a long way.
Ensuring you have a selection of essential items not only helps employees relax, conduct themselves with professionalism, and bring their best to the meeting, but it shows goodwill from the employer. All these essential items are simple and easy to bring and add that final flourish that helps a business stand out as a good place to work.