Careful planning and preparation can make or break an important meeting. Work that is done prior to entering a conference is often what drives the presentation forward. It’s all about preparation and getting the groundwork completed so the meeting runs efficiently and is more productive overall. Making the commitment to planning and certifying all necessary elements are in place will ensure that a meeting is successful. Here are some critical steps to organizing an effective meeting.

Identify goals
What is the purpose of the meeting? What needs to be discussed? What should people get out of the meeting before they leave? Compose a list of goals that should be achieved during the meeting whether it be specific points or even questions answered/posed to the group. Have an agenda going into the meeting, so no one comes out of it feeling like it was wasted time.

Furthermore, once goals have been pinpointed, the size of the necessary venue can be determined. A conference room may not be large enough to accommodate everyone, so a larger room would need to be scheduled in order to seat everyone comfortably.

Potentially one of the more complicated areas is planning for the meeting. Whatever topic is being presented will need to be organized and correctly flushed out so the speaker is prepared for all outcomes. Strategizing the best way to communicate goals and points to those in the meeting without boring them and overwhelming them with information will be beneficial. No one wants to listen to someone drone on and on. Ensure presenters are clear on their points.

Try to make the meeting straightforward. While using complex terminology can make a presenter sound like they know what they’re talking about, it might confuse others so try to keep everything simple and new ideas will flow easily.

When orchestrating a meeting, it’s important that the most influential members will be in attendance. Selecting participants should be a relatively easy process: Simply identify the professionals who are knowledgeable in the topics or goals set to be discussed in the meeting. More importantly, focus on the people who need to be informed at the meeting in order to do their job. Being inclusive isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If a smaller group will be more productive in a conference setting, keep it small. If a larger crowd is needed for brainstorming, plan accordingly.

Send out an agenda
The best way to stay organized is to supply meeting attendees with an agenda before the meeting. An outline can include anything from specific topics to problems the company is facing. Sending an agenda allows staff members an idea of what to expect, which should result in them having a better understanding of what to assume in the meeting. Getting an agenda to participants prior to the meeting can start participants brainstorming ahead of time, so they come in with fresh ideas, questions, and potential solutions.

Set reminders
Once subject matter is chosen, it’s time to send out reminders or RSVPs to all of the people set to attend. Give professionals time to see it and plan around it, so work doesn’t stop. Setting up an automatic reminder either through email or specific corporate technology can save time and help people get to the meeting on time so work can begin promptly. Try to send out a reminder or invitation at least one day in advance—potentially a few days beforehand— just to give people a chance to arrange their schedules.

No one enjoys going to a meeting where they are counting down the moments until it ends. Creating an environment where everyone is productive and engrossed in achieving goals is imperative to the success of the meeting—and furthermore, the company as a whole.