Avoid common pitfalls in meeting planning: Entrepreneurs' guide

As an entrepreneur, you know successful meetings are an essential part of running your business. Meetings can be a great way to share information, generate ideas and make important decisions. However, they can also be a waste of time, eat up your schedule if they’re not well-planned and executed and that often leads to so many common meeting planner mistakes.

Although at times it might seem impossible - you can have successful meetings and avoid calendar management mistakes. Let’s explore some common pitfalls in meeting planning and how you can avoid them. By following these calendar management tips for entrepreneurs, you can ensure your meetings are productive, efficient and effective.

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Wasting time

How many times have you been in a meeting to say to yourself; “this should have been an email?” Wasting time in pointless meetings is not a good way to run your business.

Before you schedule a meeting, take some time to think about what you want to accomplish. Are you trying to share information? Solve a problem? Make a decision? By setting clear objectives, you can ensure that your meeting stays focused and on track.

As an entrepreneur, the moniker ‘time is money’ is never going to ring truer. A lot of the time it will feel that if you’re not working, you’re not earning. This means that when it comes to meetings, they need to be with the right people for you to grow your business. Inviting too many people can lead to confusion and chaos. It also means that nothing gets done. Write a list of who you need to make decisions and get advice. Don’t invite people who don’t make the cut. 

Going back and forth to find a time to get people together can be exhausting. It also wastes time. As an entrepreneur, you could be looking to meet with investors and they are busy people. Try using a scheduling tool like Doodle. With a Booking Page, you can set your availability and then all you have to do is send a link. This will let people book time with you in nothing more than a click - no time wasted!

Make effective decisions

You’ve invited the right people to your meeting, so it’s important to make sure you encourage participation and engagement from them. These are the people that will help you make a decision, so ask for input and feedback from everyone in the room. It’s your job to ensure all perspectives are heard and considered.

If you have employees, listening to them can help them feel more valued and included in the process. You never know, you might just get great feedback from someone you don’t expect.

You’re not always going to be able to make every decision on the spot in the meeting. Follow-up emails are important. Make sure action items are completed so that further decisions can be made based on evidence and not guesswork. By tracking the progress of your decisions and providing regular updates, you can help ensure they’re successful and effective.

Be prepared for remote

Modern entrepreneurs need to be prepared for doing their business online. It’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself participating in more and more remote meetings. In order to be prepared for these meetings, it is important to be aware of time zones and to ensure you understand how to use your video conferencing tool.

One of the key challenges of remote meetings is coordinating schedules across different time zones. In order to avoid confusion and ensure that everyone is able to attend, it’s important to consider the time of your meeting carefully and to clearly communicate the time to all attendees. Scheduling tools are great at adjusting the time a meeting is planned to the person’s local time meaning they know exactly when the meeting is. Integrating with your calendar can add to this by booking out the time that is agreed upon. That means no more double bookings. 

Another important consideration is your video conferencing tool. In order to ensure that your meeting goes smoothly, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the tool and to ensure that you understand how to use it. This may involve testing the tool before the meeting, troubleshooting any technical issues and ensuring you have a good internet connection.

Don’t get overloaded

According to Forbes, productivity gets squeezed by early-stage entrepreneurs scheduling far too many meetings. As a business person, it's easy to fall into the trap of overbooking yourself with meetings. You may feel like you need to meet with as many people as possible in order to grow your business and stay on top of things. However, constantly being in meetings can actually be counterproductive. 

Meetings are time-consuming and take you away from more important tasks. If you're constantly in meetings, you may not have enough time to work on the things that truly matter for your business, such as developing new products or services, working on marketing and sales or managing your finances.

On top of that, they can be mentally exhausting, especially if they involve difficult conversations or decision-making. If you're constantly in meetings, you may find yourself feeling burnt out and unable to focus on the things that really matter.

Not all meetings are equally important, so make sure to only arrange and attend the ones that truly matter.

Overall, it’s small changes that can help you avoid common meeting pitfalls and it’s important to strike a balance over how many you have. Meeting with investors and experts can be helpful in growing your business but don’t let them own your schedule. It’s important to have free time on your calendar to do other things. 

When you do have to have meetings. Prioritize, plan and be willing to embrace technology to maximize your availability. Fewer well-planned meetings will be far more productive for you and your business.

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