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9 Steps for Hosting a Successful Business Meeting

Hosting a business meeting? Use this guide to clarify what type of meeting best suits your goals and how to run it like a champ from start to finish.


Group of people having a virtual business meeting

We’ve all attended business meetings that didn’t run smoothly. Maybe someone arrived late, there was no agenda, or you didn’t need to be there at all. While meetings happen every day, there’s an art to running effective business meetings.

In this guide, we’ll share with you:

The way you plan and host a meeting can have a huge impact on its outcome. Let’s explore business meetings in more detail and walk away with ideas and strategies to make them even better.

What is a business meeting?

Team at a business meeting

A business meeting is where people get together to discuss, problem solve, or make decisions — depending on the reason for meeting. They can happen in-person, remotely with video conferencing software, or asynchronously with tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Your meeting might include stakeholders, clients, and members of the community, or be a gathering of internal team members. The type of meeting and purpose will guide who you invite, what you talk about, and what happens next.

8 of the most common types of business meetings

Virtual business meeting

There are hundreds of reasons why you might gather people for a meeting. They’ll likely fall into one of these types of business meetings:

  • 👋 Introduction meetings: These meetings are typically where you meet a new client or investor, or introduce someone new to your team. Introduction meetings are common for entrepreneurs and leaders that are trying to build their business.
  • 📣 Informative meetings: Informative meetings are a great way to introduce a new policy in the workplace or share some amazing growth news. These business communication or staff meetings often involve the whole company, so you can make an essential update to everyone at once.
  • 📈 Status update meetings: In these meetings, participants share updates on what they’re working on, how it’s going, and whether there are any roadblocks. This could be a daily standup meeting or a weekly team meeting.
  • 📝Planning meetings: These meetings give a new or changing project team the chance to get to know each other, identify the purpose and route forward, and make plans on how to get there. 
  • Problem-solving meetings: These meetings are a necessity if you run into challenges with a project. A problem-solving meeting lets you gather your best minds together to come up with a viable fix or alternative, after reviewing what’s working and what isn’t.
  • ✔️ Decision-making meetings: These gatherings include manager meetings or board meetings and offer valuable space for making big changes happen. In decision-making meetings, participants review data and research, compare proposals, and make choices about the next steps.
  • 💡 Idea generating and innovation meetings: The goal with these meetings is to surface new ideas and opportunities for the business. These get-togethers can include brainstorming sessions or hackathons, where you’re challenged to come up with a new product or innovation within a set time frame.
  • 😊 Team-building meetings: Team-building meetings are a great way to foster a sense of community, teamwork, and collaboration. These meetings bring your team members together to play team-building games, attempt fun challenges, and understand the people they work alongside better. Such meetings should happen regularly if you want to promote a better approach to working together.

How to run better business meetings in 9 steps

While every type of meeting is slightly different, there are still ground rules for running an effective meeting. Use these strategies to help you plan, run, and evaluate successful business meetings.

1. Know your purpose

Before you can get started, you first need to know what the purpose of the meeting is. Maybe you’re meeting to make a decision about a project, or to get to know a new member of the team. Decide what your end goal or meeting objective is, so you can plan an agenda and discussion topics that help you reach it.

2. Invite the right participants

2 people each holding a puzzle piece

Your company is filled with busy people, so make the best use of their time and only invite them to meetings they absolutely need to attend. Be ruthless with your meeting participants list to get more value from the time you spend together. An exception to this would be an all hands meeting or town hall meeting, where it’s essential that you invite everyone to hear the news.

3. Create and share an agenda

A clear and strong meeting agenda keeps everyone on track and makes it easier to reach your meeting goals. Start with a template agenda and add agenda items and discussion topics that relate to your meeting objectives. Encourage team members to collaborate on the agenda with the help of our meeting prep template. Include key details like the start and end time of the meeting, how they can join, and how long discussion on each agenda item is due to last.

4. Share your meeting culture

The way your team or company runs meetings can vary, which is why it’s important to be open about your meeting culture ahead of time. Explain your approach to time keeping, interruptions, going off-topic, and other virtual meeting etiquette you follow. It can be helpful to clarify these at the meeting start too, especially for new participants.

5. Assign someone to manage the meeting

Every successful meeting should have someone assuming the role of facilitator. Whether you invite a designated facilitator to host the meeting or it’s part of your role, meeting management should be someone’s priority. The facilitator helps keep to the meeting time, encourages fair participation, and deals with any challenges or interruptions. They play an essential role in your business meetings.

6. Make it easy for people to contribute

Create a polly

Traditional meetings are great for extroverts and people who can share their ideas confidently, but this means you miss out on some of the best and most diverse voices. Instead, offer multiple ways for someone to contribute ideas and take part in the discussion.

Use an app like Polly to help people share anonymous feedback and ideas with an Open Forum, Polly’s built-for-Slack suggestion box, and introduce live polls so people can vote on decisions in the meeting. Alongside making it easy for people to take part, these additions also help introverted employees feel welcome and promote inclusivity in remote meetings.

7. Leave space for questions

Even with the clearest agenda and a no-nonsense facilitator, your participants might have questions throughout the meeting. Create space at the end of the meeting to review questions and any other business before you close the discussion. Simplify the process by using Polly’s Q&A in Microsoft Teams. Set up your prompt, then encourage everyone to submit their questions publicly or anonymously for you to answer in the meeting. If the question can’t be answered swiftly, make a note of it and include a more detailed response in your follow-up email or message — or schedule a separate meeting to discuss it.

8. Share accurate minutes and action items

Before you close your meeting, take a moment to recap what’s happened and list some action items. These should clearly set out who is responsible, what the action is, and a deadline. With all three elements, it’s easier to follow up and make sure the task gets done. You should also put together some meeting minutes or share a recording of the meeting with participants, so they can check back for context or any missing information.

9. Send a follow-up message

Person following up after a meeting

Once the meeting is over, your job isn’t done. Successful meeting hosts send a follow-up message afterward to ensure nothing is left to chance. Thank your participants for attending, share a recap and agenda items, and mention any plans for your next meeting together. This is also a perfect opportunity to ask for meeting feedback. Use this as part of a system of continuous feedback to make your meetings and overall experience even more effective.

Host more effective business meetings

Meetings aren’t just an opportunity to sit on a video call and discuss what’s on your mind. Used correctly, they’re a valuable way to surface ideas, make decisions, and strengthen remote team bonds. Use this guide to help you plan and run better business meetings.

If you’re looking for a way to make your meetings run smoothly, add Polly as your co-pilot. Polly’s meeting management features make it easier to capture agenda items, engage people within your meetings, make decisions, and gather valuable meeting feedback. With these systems in place, you can run more successful meetings and simplify the planning and prep experience.


Try Polly for free to instantly improve your employee engagement.

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