So you have organised a meeting, it has been in everyone’s diaries for ages, you’ve booked a room and ordered tea and coffee. You get to the meeting room only to find a handful of attendees have arrived, some turn up late, others couldn’t find the room and one person just didn’t bother turning up. Frustrating right? Yes! We’ve all been there. Considering how many meetings assistants are asked to organise it is important that we manage our meetings effectively and we have everyone there that is supposed to be there. Here are a few tips which will help you get attendees to your meetings.

Plan the meeting in advance

It is an obvious point but worth reiterating – the longer the meeting has been in someone’s diary the more chance they will attend. As we know last minute meetings happen all the time and assistants are usually the people that have to frantically make space in over crowded diaries. There isn’t really anything we can do to stop these urgent meetings from happening and we do have to go with the flow when they do. However it really does make sense planning board meetings and regular team meetings in advance (like a year in advance if you can) as this will ensure a consistent number turn up.

Start on time

Even if the majority of people have yet to arrive. They will soon understand that arriving late makes them look unprofessional and they will miss vital information. It will also ensure your meetings finish on time, which is important for those with busy schedules.

Write an agenda

For every meeting that you organise it is really helpful to have an agenda. Attach the agenda to the meeting request so that all attendees know what to expect from the meeting. Make sure you also include any supporting documents that they need to read before the meeting and send an email the day before the meeting reminding attendees that they have papers to read over prior to the meeting. Each agenda item should have a dedicated amount of time so that attendees know you have thought about the meeting structure.

Get the right people in the room

Does the CEO of the organisation need to be in this meeting? If they arrive and find that they didn’t need to attend they will probably not want to come along to your next meeting. If you don’t have a senior member of the organisation in your meeting when decisions have to be made this might also affect the effectiveness of the meeting.

Assign attendee’s a task

This is a good way of making sure that every attendee knows why they are coming to the meeting and they will *hopefully* come prepared. Again, remind attendees prior to the meeting that they have a task assigned to them.

Use a meeting productivity tool

A lot of organisations now use meeting productivity tools and apps to help run effective meetings. Using technology to improve productivity and increase results shows colleagues you take their time and your own seriously. There are lots of options available such as Less Meetings.

Last resort?

Offer free food…