By definition, a meeting is "an act or process of coming together" for example "as [...] an assembly for a common purpose [...]"1. Meetings are omnipresent in our everyday life and a universal form of communication. Whether happening informally in our private sphere, or in a formal context of work-related setting, or anything in between, each meeting requires a certain amount of organisational effort.
This article is intended to help you quickly get an overview of what and how much organisational effort your planned meeting would require. Always reflect on the following “3 Ps” principle when organising a meeting: they help define the nature of your meeting and are important for all further planning steps.
Place: Will the event be held as a physical meeting or as tele-meeting? In a physical meeting the participants meet in person and have the chance for social interaction and to get to know each other. This often requires a set of logistical arrangements for preparing the physical meeting place. A tele-meeting will take place via any form of tele-communication services such as phone, video or chat. These meetings generally do not require complex logistical arrangements prior to the event except for ensuring the technical connectivity and functioning of the communication facility and the participants’ understanding thereof.
Participants: Will the meeting host representatives of two parties (bi-lateral discussions) or more than two parties (multi-lateral discussions)? This will have an influence on different factors such as time allocation to speakers, the level of detail you may allow in discussions, the choice of topics such as confidentiality, etc.
Purpose: Are you trying to reach a single aim or multiple aims with the meeting? Define the aim of the meeting prior to the event in order to derive an appropriate agenda. If you aim for a single goal in a meeting, you will be able to cover different aspects around this single goal and allow a higher level of detail in discussions. With meetings striving for multiple aims, you might cover a greater amount of work overall, but time restrictions might only allow a lower level of detail in discussing a topic.
There are of course several other aspects that need taking care of for a successful organisation and delivery of your planned meeting such as detailed planning in terms of logistics, paying attention to details, and careful management and monitoring throughout the entire process. Nevertheless, we believe that addressing appropriately the above 3 Ps will help you get started on the right foot, after which you can go ahead and make your event a success.