Corporate Meetings: What Your Company’s Leaders Need to Know

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When most people think of corporate meetings, they typically picture high-level business executives jetting in from across the globe to discuss strategies that will alter the trajectory of the company (and maybe even the industry!). Although, the term “corporate meeting” encompasses all types of meetings at a company, including both groundbreaking meetings and every day, run-of-the-mill meetings between leadership, team members, and board members.

Whether you work at a small startup or the headquarters for a major corporation, attending and participating in these business meetings is a normal part of the job. Meetings are the time for your team to come together and discuss important activities that will drive the business forward. You can improve their impact by taking the time to understand the basic building blocks of corporate meetings and research best practices to make the most of your fellow team members’ time. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!

At Boardable, our team works alongside corporate leaders, particularly CEOs and board chairs, to streamline their organization’s management. A major part of this involves running meetings efficiently and effectively. In the fast-paced business world, companies don’t have a single moment to waste to maximize their profits and impact their industries. We’ve recognized a few common trends among productive meetings, and we’re here to share that insight with you. Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

Knowing how to sufficiently prepare, run corporate meetings, and follow up after the fact will empower your company to make powerful strides toward its strategic objectives. Not to mention, strong meeting management is a skill you can carry with you for the rest of your career, no matter what business you work for. Ready to revamp your approach to company meetings? Let’s dive in.

Let's review the fundamentals of corporate meetings.

The Basics of Corporate Meetings

Every employee should understand the basics of business meetings, whether they are just starting their first corporate job or have been a senior executive for the past 30 years. Familiarizing themselves with meeting fundamentals allows them to have efficient conversations and respect their team members’ time. Before you discuss meeting basics with your team, make sure you’re up-to-date on them yourself by reviewing the following questions.

What Is a Corporate Meeting?

A corporate meeting is defined as a formal, business-oriented meeting in which at least one participant works for the same company, corporate group, or joint venture. This term also encompasses official client-provider gatherings and vendor meetings. Corporate meetings typically focus on reviewing company activities, establishing both team-specific and organization-wide objectives, and generating ideas to meet those goals.

For a gathering to qualify as a corporate meeting, it must meet the following standards: (1) it must not be organized by an external party, (2) the meeting’s primary objective is to further the business’ objectives, and (3) interactions between participants must be non-competitive (since they represent the same team) or competition must be regulated objectively (in the case of tension between groups).

What Is the Purpose of Corporate Meetings?

Generally speaking, corporate meetings are a time to discuss the various aspects of the business and drive the organization’s work forward. More specifically, a business meeting may focus on:

This graphic depicts common discussion items for corporate meetings.

  • Team or company performance
  • The company’s mission and vision
  • Idea generation for products and services
  • Strategic planning
  • Team or organizational weaknesses
  • Potential and existing obstacles
  • Project assignments
  • Team morale improvements

The purpose of all business meetings is to further the organization’s work, no matter who’s in attendance or what the meeting’s primary objective is. When you’ve decided on a specific meeting’s purpose, be sure to proactively communicate it to attendees.

There are several different types of business meetings you can run.

Different Types of Business Meetings

Across your company, there are many different roles, functions, and projects that keep the business moving forward. As such, a wide array of meetings occur daily.

While your meeting structure may look a little different, here are the most common types of business meetings your company will likely encounter:

  1. Project Status Updates. These typically regard ongoing projects. Project status update meetings occur between the project manager, facilitators, and employees involved with the project. Participants should be prepared to provide updates on their responsibilities and share any challenges. This helps the project manager understand the status of each of the project’s elements, determine budget status, adjust the timeline if necessary, identify roadblocks, and determine steps to move forward.
  2. Governance and Strategic Direction. Usually held among the company’s executives, governance and strategic direction meetings are designed to develop your business’s oversight and strategic direction. They’re chaired by a senior representative, and attendees are encouraged to express their views on governance and what they feel is essential for the company’s progress. Regular board meetings and quarterly strategic reviews are examples of this type of meeting.
  3. Decision-Making. Running a successful company requires regularly making decisions. What better way to do that than by seeking input from your organization’s members? These corporate meetings allow attendees to provide relevant details, develop potential solutions, and deliberate on the best way to move the business forward.
  4. Innovation. Growing organizations need new ideas to expand. In these company meetings, employees pitch ideas to the company’s leaders, who then choose the best suggestions. To be productive, be sure everyone feels comfortable freely sharing their ideas without judgment.
  5. Problem-Solving. Problems are an unavoidable part of running a business. To resolve them, you might need to hold a meeting for your team to discuss the best route for moving forward. In these corporate meetings, the team leader presents the problem, and team members brainstorm and analyze potential solutions. The ultimate objective for these meetings is (you guessed it!) to solve the problem at hand.
  6. Team Building. Promoting a collaborative and engaging work environment requires dedicating time to develop employee relationships. Strong connections between employees can directly impact your company’s growth. Team building meetings include gatherings like corporate outings which encourage socialization, onsite meetings in which you set up various team-building exercises and bring in speakers, and board retreats which often infuse team-building activities with strategic planning.

There’s a handful of other types of business meetings that your company may hold, but these basic types make up the bulk of most organization’s conference meetings.

Regardless, establishing the type of business meeting you’re holding helps you set an objective and lets your team members know exactly what they’re walking into. That way, they can come adequately prepared and will know how to contribute.

Running a corporate meeting can be broken down into eight easy steps.

How to Conduct a Corporate Meeting

We’ve all been in a bad meeting before. In fact, ineffective meetings are so common that most employees attend 62 meetings per month, half of which they perceive as a complete waste of time.

Most employees attend 62 corporate meetings monthly, half of which they say are a waste of time.

In poorly executed meetings, everyone might have some semblance of what they’re trying to accomplish, but there’s not a clear objective in place. It’s unclear what needs to be discussed to reach the end goal, and one or two people dominate the entire conversation. Before you know it, the meeting comes to a close without reaching any pressing goals, and everyone files out of the room, resenting the wasted time.

Sound familiar? If ineffective gatherings are a common occurrence at your business, it’s time to revitalize your company’s approach to conducting meetings. Before your next meeting, walk through these steps for efficient meetings with attendees. While tedious at first, they’ll soon become second nature.

This graphic depicts common steps for running efficient corporate meetings.

1. Define Your Objective.

The first step for planning a meeting is determining its purpose. Think about why you’re holding the meeting, referencing the types of business meetings we covered earlier. Is it to reach a decision on the budget for your annual employee holiday party? Is it to generate ideas for marketing a new product you’re about to launch? Is it to check in on usage of your employee giving program over the past year?

Knowing and communicating your meetings’ exact purpose makes accomplishing that purpose much easier.

2. Create Your Agenda.

Once you’ve set your objective, develop your roadmap for reaching it. Your agenda serves as the guide for the meeting’s facilitator. Include each items’ goals and time estimates for each topic to keep everyone on track. Every agenda item should relate to the primary objective.

Here’s the basic structure that most corporate meetings follow:

  • Welcome everyone and state the purpose of the meeting.
  • For recurring business meetings, recap the minutes from the last meeting and address unresolved business.
  • Hit all crucial agenda items, being sure to achieve the goal for each.
  • Adjourn the meeting at the designated end time or as soon as the objective is reached.

Formal, recurring meetings (such as those with corporate shareholders) may have their format fixed by law, whereas regular business meetings may be less structured. However, all will roughly follow the outline above. It’s up to the meeting facilitator to determine when a formal, detailed agenda is necessary or just a simple outline will best serve the meeting.

RELATED: Our complete guide to board meeting agendas provides actionable tips that can apply to any team at your organization. Take a look to learn how to take your agendas from subpar to extraordinary with industry best practices.

3. Set your budget.

There are typically associated costs for more formal corporate meetings. The budget must be approved and allocated before the meeting, and its size depends on the number of attendees, the meeting’s length, and the location. Some costs to consider include:

  • Catering
  • Venue
  • Accommodation
  • Equipment

Additionally, your employees’ time is an associated cost that you won’t have to build into the budget but should still consider since meetings take time out of their workday.

A meeting’s budget will naturally vary based on size and duration. For example, a half-hour departmental meeting may only need money allocated for doughnuts and coffee. On the other hand, a multi-day retreat or big annual board meeting may require a separate venue, hotel rooms, and catering for multiple meals.

4. Create your guest list.

If your meeting includes people you don’t regularly interact with and who may need to travel for your corporate meeting, create a guest list with everyone’s contact details, such as their email addresses and cell phone numbers.

This enables you to get in touch with everyone when they’re traveling. Plus, you can use the contact list to send out the agenda and any supporting documentation.

5. LINE UP Accommodations.

Smaller corporate meetings might need less time for this planning step, but it’s still worth considering. With all official gatherings, you should consider three areas of accommodation, each of which will vary based on meeting type and size:

  1. Venue. Determine whether to meet onsite or at an external location based on who as well as how many people are invited to your corporate meeting. The venue should meet space and technology requirements (e.g. WiFi, enough power strips, etc.).
  2. Catering. As we’ve mentioned, some company meetings will naturally need more in the way of catering than others. While some can make do without refreshments or just beverages and a light snack, others may need catering for a full meal (or multiple meals depending on length). Adjust the catering based on how long the meeting will take and the number of potential attendees.
  3. Overnight accommodation. Will people be flying in? These individuals may need overnight accommodation for multi-day corporate meetings. Larger companies may make arrangements with hotel chains for these situations whereas smaller businesses will need to base this accommodation on their budget.

Bear in mind that you might need to wait to finalize certain accommodations until everyone’s returned their invitations. Preparing accommodations beforehand will inform potential attendees about what to expect, so they can work out their travel arrangements.

6. Send Invitations and Supporting documentation.

After you finalize your guest list and get a general idea of what accommodations you’ll need, figure out when all of your guests can attend. Meeting technology like Boardable makes it incredibly easy to automate meeting scheduling and find the best meeting time. Then, you can finalize the time and send out invitations with all the meeting details.

Send out invitations at least a few days in advance. Otherwise, people will resent the sudden urgency. Otherwise, people will resent the sudden urgency. In fact, 44% of participants in a survey indicated that sudden or unscheduled company meetings cut into valuable work time. Not to mention, they won’t have enough time to prepare and work out travel plans if necessary.

44% of surveyed employees indicated that sudden or unscheduled company meetings take away from other work.

Share all necessary documentation with guests who will be attending, including when and where the meeting will take place, the agenda, and any supporting documents that need to be reviewed in advance.

7. Hold the meeting.

When the day arrives, everything should be squared away. Attendees will arrive fully prepared thanks to everything that was shared ahead of time.

At the designated start time, whoever’s leading the meeting should call the meeting to order, starting with a quick welcome and thank-you to everyone for coming.

You’ve taken care of all the preparation, so simply stick to the agenda for guidance. Make sure every item is addressed, and if anything goes over its allotted time, push it to the parking lot to revisit later in the business meeting. As action items come up, be sure to assign them to the appropriate attendees (Hint: Boardable makes it easy to assign tasks directly in your minutes).

Be sure to take any breaks that you’ve worked into the schedule to keep everyone’s minds fresh and the conversation flowing. By the end of the corporate meeting, you should reach your desired objective and can send everyone on their way, knowing they’ve completed a job well done.

8. Send any relevant follow-up.

After everything wraps up, the designated minutes-taker should send out minutes within 24-48 hours after the meeting adjourns. Depending on what was discussed, you’ll likely want to share the meeting’s minutes with people who were unable to attend, too. That way, they’ll have the appropriate context for big business decisions and subsequent meetings.

If not done during the corporate meeting itself, the organizer should assign action items that came up during the meeting and follow-up intermittently.

RELATED: Check out our complete guide to corporate meeting minutes. You’ll discover basic requirements and in-depth best practices for more effective minute-taking. You’ll also grab a free template along the way.

The right technology streamlines corporate meetings.

How Technology Can Streamline Meeting Planning

Between creating agendas, sending invitations, conducting the meeting itself, and recording minutes, a lot goes into holding a corporate meeting. As such, you’ll naturally need a suite of tools to get the job done. To cut down on costs and maximize efficiency, companies should streamline their meeting management into a single platform, rather than navigate between several systems.

Built by industry professionals with years of experience, Boardable helps launch for-profits into the modern era with powerful (yet incredibly user-friendly) features. To help you reimagine your approach to corporate governance and oversight, the innovators on our team have designed tools that empower you to:

  • Make meeting planning a sitch with our Agenda Builder. You can also transform your agenda into an efficient meeting minutes template during your corporate meetings.
  • Cultivate relationships by storing and sharing contact information with designated users. Communicating between business meetings has never been easier.
  • Automate scheduling for your meetings in the Meetings Center. Find the best time to meet and easily send invitations when details are finalized.
  • Securely share documents in a central location. No more searching through long email chains for important documents thanks to the Document Center.
  • Conduct virtual video conferences with Spotlight. You’ll be able to screen share, look at the same documents, record votes, and collaborate.

Boardable makes running corporate meetings a breeze.

That’s just the start! Boardable handles the nitty-gritty meeting processes, so you can get more done with centralized communication, creating a better experience for your organizers and attendees.

Best of all, you can get a two-week free trial to see how it’ll work for your team’s corporate meetings. It only takes a minute to get up and running, and chances are, you won’t want to go back when you see what Boardable can do for your company!

Get a free trial of Boardable to see how it can improve your business meetings.

Let's recap what we've shared about corporate meetings.

Conclusion and Additional Resources

Corporate meetings are an opportunity to push your company’s objectives forward. You don’t want to waste your attendees’ valuable time, so it’s vital that you take the proper steps to adequately prepare, give everyone proper notice, maintain productivity during the meeting, and follow up afterward.

Now that you’re a whiz on corporate meetings, get out there and share these insights with your coworkers. Your team and entire company will thank you when they can boost efficiency and free up their calendars.

If you’re looking to learn more about corporate management, check out these helpful resources: