What BAs Should Know About Managing Business Meetings

One of the core competencies business analysts should have is the ability to facilitate business meetings. From elicitation to analysis, meetings are a true test of a business analyst’s facilitation skills. As a business analyst, you may love meetings, or you may hate them, but they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s best to learn how to organize and run meetings effectively.

Why Organize Meetings Anyway?

You’re not wrong to wonder why it’s necessary to organize meetings in the first place. After all, so many important matters can be solved one-on-one, and perhaps even more can be solved with an email or a phone call. Indeed, there are countless situations when it’s much more productive to spend five minutes with five different people individually than twenty-five minutes with all five people together in the same room.

To decide when to have a meeting and when to handle things individually, keep in mind the following benefits and downsides of business meetings:

  • Well-organized business meetings empower employees to express themselves in a way that makes them feel heard.
  • Well-organized business meetings are an effective way for the whole company to communicate and for different clusters in the organization to understand the different viewpoints on an issue.
  • Well-organized business meetings bring employees closer together and encourage an open exchange of ideas.
  • Well-organized business meetings have the potential to provide the much-needed morale boost during tough times.

On the downsides however,

  • Business meetings can be time-consuming and productivity-halting.
  • Business meetings may waste valuable time on formalities, such as agenda, minutes, and regulations, if not effectively managed
  • Business meetings can cause information overload and lead to confusion and even chaos.
  • Business meetings tend to benefit extroverted, outspoken employees, while more introverted employees sometimes struggle to be heard during meetings.

The good news is that most, if not all, downsides of business meetings can be overcome with careful planning and flawless execution.  

Four Key Elements Of Running An Effective Meeting

One popular method of running a successful meeting is called PCFW, and it comprises four key elements: Prepare, Communicate, Facilitate and Wrap-Up.

Prepare

The very first step is to describe the purpose of the meeting. The purpose should be immediately obvious to intending participants. If it isn’t, it will be difficult for participants to prepare. Once you know the purpose of the meeting and can summarize it in a few sentences, note down who needs to attend and what the attendees need to prepare for it.  

Communicate

Start the meeting with the agenda and clearly state the reason why you’re holding the meeting. Feel free to write down the introduction word-for-word and go through it as quickly and as clearly as possible. Verify that individuals have completed their action items from the last meeting.

Facilitate

As the facilitator of the meeting, you have two main objectives: ensure that the meeting starts and ends on time and keep the meeting on topic. When someone brings up something important that’s not on the agenda, set it aside as a parking lot item and return to it at a more appropriate time, if at all. See Facilitation in Business Analysis: 5 Tips For Effective Facilitation

Wrap Up

Make sure the meeting ends with a satisfactory conclusion, which means that everyone who attended it knows what they are supposed to do next and when.