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How to organize out-of-office business meetings

One easy way to motivate people to go to business meeting is to hold it in an exotic location. Here's a short guest post by Catherine Lavinia....

Why not host a business meeting in Toledo, Spain. I visited there in March 2013 and was impressed! Photo by Joshua Huval.

Sometimes it may be a better option to take a business meeting outside of the office. This can be held at a conference room at an alternative location if meeting with a number of people, or at a coffee shop down the road if you're meeting with one other individual.

As always, there are a few things you should keep in mind when organising such a meeting and here are some of them:

Suitability

The most important decision to make when looking for an alternative location is how suitable the room is.

  • Will it fit all those attending meeting comfortably?
  • Is it a convenient meeting place for the majority of those meeting to travel to?
  • If you're planning to spread the meeting over two days, will attendees need accommodation for the night? If so, it might be a good idea to have a look at group accommodation from Travelodge for better rates on bookings.

Some of their hotels even offer on-site meeting facilities so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Itinerary

If you have gone to the effort of calling a meeting outside of the office, you must make sure that every attendee feels that it was worth leaving their workplace to take part.

The best way of doing this is by drawing up an itinerary that details exactly what will be discussed during the meeting. Your itinerary must be flexible enough to allow others to ask important questions and control the topics of discussion a little but not so much that conversation drifts too far away from the purpose.

Being able to tell someone that they're off topic and may need to save their point for another meeting may be tough but it is often necessary.

Inform early

Letting those people that will be attending the meeting know the specifics of when, where and why you will be meeting as early as possible is also vital. This will give them plenty of time to prepare for the meeting and have a think about exactly what it is that they want to take from the meeting.

It also means that people will have more of an opportunity to rearrange their schedules if necessary. On top of this, early planning means that, should you be unfortunate enough to run into any difficulties, then you will have plenty of time to seek a solution. This means that your meeting should run smoothly with little, or no, disruptions.

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