An often overlooked but important consideration when promoting an inclusive and engaging working environment, is the scheduling of meetings. Below are some key points that should be kept in mind when planning a meeting in advance.
- Consider the requirement for the meeting? – Is it necessary? Unless there are specific discussion points can information be disseminated in another manner? Have the right people been invited? Try not to blanket invite people; the attendees should be representative of the meeting’s subject and be the correct people to make relevant decisions.
- Ensure the meeting is scheduled at a time that allows all required participants to attend. Late mornings and early afternoons ensure inclusivity to those who work within core hours or have personal commitments.
- Pick a venue that is convenient for attendees to get to. Consider accessibility and the location in which your invitees are normally based.
- Forward an agenda to all invitees and allow time for feedback. Ensure those who are unable to attend are given the opportunity to forward their points to someone who can attend. Ideally the agenda should be forwarded a week before the meeting and include the time and venue. This will give attendees a chance to make alternative arrangements where necessary.
- Consider methods of remote access to meetings. Can teleconferences, net-meetings or webinars be used?
- Stick to the agenda – this will increase the likelihood of a timely ending and avoid off-topic discussions.
- Take a short break at the end of the meeting before any Q&A session to allow those who need to leave to depart without disrupting the session.
- Forward annotated slides or minutes to all original invitees with the facility to provide feedback.