The 7 Rules for a Highly Productive Meeting

The first thing to do is to determine if you even need this meeting to take place. Sometimes meetings happen without prior thought to what their purpose should be and how to bring that to pass. If you think that a meeting is a way to go, ask yourself some quick questions before scheduling it.

But, first things first, what is a meeting?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a meeting as “an act or process of coming together.” A meeting is a gathering of two or more people coming together for a specific purpose. These are commonly held when multiple people need to decide on agendas or ways to achieve a particular goal. They may occur when face-to-face interaction is required to make a decision. Meetings may also take place over the phone or a video chat. A meeting can be informal, such as a social meeting with friends, or a formal gathering, such as a business luncheon.

A meeting is defined as an act or process of coming together for a purpose or to achieve a goal.

To avoid wasting time and resources, communication for a meeting’s purpose is critical. Everyone, at some point in time, has attended a meeting and thought during or afterward about why it even happened. Don’t waste time in a meeting that could have been an email or quick one-on-one discussion with someone.

First, clarify the purpose of your meeting and write it down. Second, decide if this a one-way conversation that can be handled in an email or a phone call. And, don’t forget to ask the critical question if any of the information that needs to be shared of a delicate or personal nature. This brings in to question about figuring out who will be attending this meeting and why. And lastly, do you have enough time to prepare adequately?

So, what are the seven rules for planning a meeting?

No matter the purpose of a meeting, whether business-related or not, there are specific tasks which need to be completed to accomplish the underlying goal of that meeting. This is where planning comes into play. Yes, meetings can be boring even if planned out, but remember that you need to make sure it is necessary. And, they can be extremely efficient and productive when planned correctly.

The First Rule: Identify the Purpose of the Meeting

There are multiple reasons to hold a meeting. And, the success of your meeting starts with defining why you need to have it and setting the goals and objectives the event will address and solve. Make sure when making the list of reasons to hold the meeting, you are clear and concise. Clarifying the purpose of your meeting is an essential part of planning your event. And, clear goals and objectives help with the effectiveness of communication. This ensures that everyone in attendance understands why it is important.

Creating an Agenda

Because all meetings should have a clearly defined purpose, it makes sense that every meeting should have a clearly defined agenda. Creating an agenda will improve communication, even if your meeting is small and only has a few in attendance.

Lay out a sequence for the meeting. Plan time for a brief introduction to provide context, and for a discussion of next steps at the end. Decide how much time to devote to each item and what order makes sense. The longer it is, the harder it will be for people to remain focused, so it’s wise to underestimate how much your group can cover in the allotted time.

A well-written meeting agenda organizes and outlines the meeting’s required points of conversation. It highlights important information and helps attendees determine their roles and responsibilities within the meeting. For a planning meeting, the agenda is especially important as it helps to ensure that all planning aspects are addressed within the designated time. Define the planning meeting’s logistics. Provide information on the meeting’s time and location. Include special instructions, such as participation codes for conference calls and login information for online meetings.

It is important to remember that having an agenda is significant to the productivity of your event. An effective agenda should be clear, concise and readable. Share the agenda with participants when necessary, so it must be easy to follow. This agenda should promote effective communication and show the appropriate actions and steps to take to keep people on track and motivated to complete the tasks the meeting sets forth.

The Second Rule: Inviting the Right People

Now that you have determined that you need to hold a meeting, make sure to invite the correct people. You don’t want unnecessary individuals to put the time and effort into coming to something they either don’t belong at, or don’t need to be at.

In some corporate cultures, employees don’t need to participate — they only listen and head back to their workspaces. At other companies, employees participate freely. In today’s collaborative workplaces, interacting and sharing ideas is not only welcome, it’s frequently the purpose of the entire meeting. When you’re setting out your expectations, it’s also a good time to send out any required reading or material you’ll want those attending to look over. That way they’re prepared when they get to the meeting and there are no surprises.

Consider who can help you accomplish your goal and who will be affected by the meeting’s outcome. Identify key decision makers, people who are knowledgeable about (or have a stake in) the topic at hand, those who need to be informed in order to do their jobs, and anyone who will be required to implement decisions made. What about size? Keep problem solving meetings small (around 8 people). Include more people for brainstorming (as many as 18). If you’re providing updates or rallying the troops, be as inclusive as you want to be. But remember: time is money. Be conscious of the ripple effects your meeting can have on people’s time across the organization, and only invite those who absolutely have to be there.

The Third Rule: Time and Space

While it may seem simple, planning when and where your meeting will take place is of enormous importance. And, part of planning when it will be will also consist of who is coming. You will need to make sure that everyone will be available to come, especially if their jobs require the information being present at your meeting.

And, making sure you have a venue, whether it’s the office conference room or a larger gathering hall, is crucial. Make sure you have enough space for everyone.

Make sure that your meeting space fits to your agenda and goals.

As you look for a great location take into consideration the tone of the meeting. A small informal and intimate meeting would work great in a small room with the chairs set into a circle. A formal meeting may require a conference room. Will there be break-out sessions? You will need to prepare for multiple rooms. If this is a full or multi-day event, do you need to provide a room for a meal or activity? Larger meetings require more space, and it will often take longer to find an appropriate space so plan ahead. Be sure to find a space for your event before you publicize the date. Many people begin planning around a specific date only to find that the selected venue is not available, it may be necessary to make adjustments to the venue or the date, stay open to possibilities.

The Fourth Rule: Preparation

From technology to social media and even how you communicate your invitations to the meeting, you must make sure that everything is adequately prepared. You will need to identify and arrange everything needed for a productive meeting; this includes testing out all technology used during the meeting. Prearrange for all required items for the event, and make sure to pay attention to even the smallest details.

Preparation, a take-charge attitude and good oral communication skills are keys to effectively chairing a meeting. It is your responsibility as a chairperson to make sure the meeting fulfills its primary objectives within its preset time parameter. You also need to keep participants engaged and make sure everyone has a voice. Both what you say and how you say it can make the difference between an effective, productive meeting and one that “fails.”

In theory, everyone understands that preparation can make or break an important meeting. The more work you do before you walk into the room, the more productive and efficient you’ll be. But who has the time to properly prepare? Our checklist makes meeting prep quick and easy—be sure to print it out or save it for later. Each step is described in more detail below. Using the checklist and the principles behind it will ensure that you’ve covered all your bases—and that you won’t be wasting anyone’s time (including your own).

Identification for Attendees

Name tags and other identification products are perfect for any meeting

Name tags also provide confidence to those at a conference or meeting. Even if everyone doesn’t know each other, their names are visible and so introductions feel less intimidating. People can confidently call each another by their names.

The bottom line is that name tags don’t have to be expensive or fancy to be powerful. When used appropriately, name tags help to build community. The power within name tags is real. So, put one on today! We have an almost endless variety to meet any need.

The Fifth Rule: Participation

This rule is simple: make sure that everyone in attendance at your meeting knows why they are there. By giving everyone an assignment or asking them to help with a presentation, they will feel of value to the common cause.

From food to printing the agenda, everyone should be able to participate in the meeting. This includes assigning personnel to perform research, develop strategies, disseminate information and implement policies, establishing time frames and benchmark goals, and defining qualitative and quantitative measurement tools to gauge effectiveness. But, make sure to always follow up on actionable items in advance of their due dates.

The Sixth Rule: Stay on Task

From starting on time to your organization, the only way your meeting will flow without fail lies in your preparation. Every meeting should start with a “call to order” to get attention. Sometimes this can be a random prize drawing or a roll call.

Timing is essential, both from a logistic and productivity standpoint. It can be frustrating when things don’t get going because attendees are trickling into the room at their own pace. Make sure to take charge of the meeting. Start promptly and with the “call to order.”

Then, stay on task. Center all conversations around the goals and objectives of your event. Stick to your agenda; that’s why you made it in the first place. And, if things start to deviate course, get back as quickly and directly as you can. Make sure that everyone has a chance to be heard, but also make sure to reign the conversation in when necessary.

The Seventh Rule: Follow Up

Once your meeting has concluded, take the time to check to see if you need any follow up. Whether it is with one person or the entire attendance roster, follow up in just as important as the meeting itself. You need to measure the result and effectiveness of your meeting.

A meeting is only as good as the action it results in. Every meeting with an agenda should also have a desired outcome. As the organizer of the meeting you should continue to drive people towards that desired outcome and act like a “ringmaster” of the different opinions and cases presented at the table. Once consensus has been achieved this should be confirmed in an email so that everyone has written confirmation. You should also track your progress against these stated objectives until the task is complete.

And, don’t forget to clean up! From taking down any decorations to cleaning up leftover food, make sure you leave the venue as you found it. This keeps your venue options open for your next meeting (you don’t want to blacklist your company from anywhere).

Badge Holders in the Professional World

When used appropriately, plastic badge holders enhance branding, security and other business relations.

What Is a Badge Holder?

use badge holders in any professional settingA badge holder is a rectangular, plastic identification product with an opening to insert a card or paper. People often use badge holders for trade shows, conventions, meetings and conferences. Badge holders come in different sizes and have a horizontal or vertical orientation. A fastener is usually attached to the plastic holder, such as a pin, clip or magnet. Badge holders also have punched slots for attaching a lanyard or metal chain. Customers can write on the paper or print any text or graphics using a printer.

Why Use Badge Holders?

The purpose of a badge holder is for someone to wear some form of identification so that it is visible and accessible. People also use badge holders to carry essential items like security cards, so they are easy to find.

Employees are less likely to lose their security cards or credentials when they keep them in a badge holder. The holders make it so that companies do not have to pay to replace any lost items. A badge holder also holds the card or ID in view so that security personnel and coworkers can quickly identify the person wearing it.

Some people prefer badge holders because they can wear them with a lanyard. The wearer does not have to poke holes in their clothing with a pin and damage their shirt or blouse. And the plastic material keeps the cards from breaking or getting scratched.


How Badge Holders Help Businesses

1) Save Money and Keep To A Budget

Badge holders are a less expensive alternative when custom name tags are not within a company’s budget. Name tags are also inconvenient when companies have high turn-over rates. With badge holders, all a company has to do is replace the former employee’s identification with the new ones. Conferences and conventions use badge holders for the same reason since different people may attend each year.

2) Keep Security Levels High

use badge holders to increase security in an office, school or hospitalIt is crucial to know who is entering a building or facility to maintain a high level of security. If employees wear their photo identification in a badge holder, security personnel can see who has authorized access to the building and who does not, which can decrease theft, impersonation and unauthorized visits. Employees can also use badge holders to carry proximity cards to tap in and out when they enter or leave the building. By giving people this access, it allows security to keep track of who is in the building.

3) Interpersonal Relationships

Identification items like badge holders help foster work relationships. People are more trusting and open with others when they know each other’s names. When employees wear something with their name on it, it improves work relationships. Additionally, this helps customers feel comfortable around employees. New employees get to know their colleagues and adapt to their work environment faster. So, when employees use badge holders like name tags, it enhances the company internal and external relations.

4) Promote A Company Brand

Adding a company logo to badge holder inserts increases brand recognition. People associate the logo with the company when employees wear their badge holders at conventions and trade shows. Employees should wear their badges in the office, during their lunch break and when they travel to and from work. Companies can also require employees to show their work ID to access benefits like restaurant discounts and gym memberships. Using an ID in this way becomes free advertising for the company and makes the logo more memorable to the public. Even within the office, having employees wear the logo creates a sense of teamwork and loyalty to the company.


Guidelines for Badge Holder Usage

For badge holders to benefit businesses, the text on the badge inserts must be readable and straightforward. Print only the person’s name and their job title and department. In retail establishments, the only requirement is the first name. When two employees have the same first name, have them include their last name or initial as well.

use the correct size font on a badge holder for the best visibilityThe text on the insert should be at least a 24 point font or larger. Make sure the ink and the font style are legible. Print the same information on both sides of the card if the badge holder is attached to a lanyard. Lanyards tend to twist and turn so that the badge holder is facing the other way. If the information is on one side of the insert, it will not be visible when the lanyard turns the badge around, which defeats the purpose of the badge holder.

Logos & Titles

The layout of the name and logo needs to look tidy and professional. A business logo should not be so large that it makes the insert look crowded. On the other hand, the logo should not be too small and hide in one corner. At trade shows, if there is enough room on the insert, it may include the company’s Twitter handle and other social media or a QR barcode that leads to the company’s website. Social media and barcodes should all be neatly laid out on the insert.

Treat titles the same as logos. If included on inserts, they must never crowd the person’s name or be in a small, unreadable font. Job titles distinguish head of staff from other employees. Titles also help customers and employees know who to talk to about specific issues. Putting titles on badges let customers or conference attendees know who is in charge of management, security or registration.

Size & Orientation

Photo IDs and security cards should fit inside the badge holders. So, make sure you are ordering the correct size. Each badge should also be the proper orientation. If the IDs have a horizontal direction, then the company will need a horizontal badge holder. It is the same for vertical IDs. If you are using paper inserts, be sure to use badge holders that will present your information appropriately. Standard text should be about 24 point font, and all text must be large enough to read from a slight distance, usually about 10 feet away.

Using Fasteners

each badge holder size comes with a different fastenerThe best choice of fastener depends on how people wish to attach the badge holder to their person. Professional badge holders come with many different fastener options. Some like it on their clothes while others want it hanging from a lanyard. Fasteners, like pins and magnets, are often used for formal settings while lanyards are used more during conferences and conventions. Magnets and pins attach badge holders to people’s shirts, blouses, suit jackets or some other articles of clothing. The slots on the top of a badge holder are made to wear with a lanyard or a clip. And, clips can be attached to almost anything, whether it is a shirt, jacket or any other piece of clothing.

Finding the Right Material

Finding the right kind of material for your badge holder depends on how excessively you intend to use them. You can order badge holders made of different types of plastic. For example, holders with 8 to 10 mil vinyl are durable and suitable for repeated use. Vinyl is a plastic consisting of polyvinyl chloride. Badges with less than eight mil vinyl are semi-rigid and ideal for light use. And, holders made of acetate, a material made by cutting and polishing sheets of plastic, are flexible and lightweight. So, they are thin and recommended for single use.

Making the Color Work For You

Inserts are available in seven colors. Ordering different colored badge holder inserts so that badges can be color coded. And, color coding allows companies can divide employees into several groups. Color coding can visibly show who has permission to access specific areas of a facility.

Different colors can also designate who works in which department. At schools, these colors can differentiate between students, faculty and staff. For trade shows or conventions, color coding can separate attendees from volunteers and vendors. Whatever the color of the insert, the text should be easy to read. So, do not use light printing on a light colored insert.


Professions That Should Have Badge Holders

Specific job fields should use badge holders for identification to earn people’s trust and improve credibility. If people are going to trust someone with their well being, they want to know they are experts in their field. People also want proof that a journalist who is asking to interview them works for a news organization. Those who work these types of jobs are more likely to receive the public’s trust when they show their credentials or identification.

Medical IDs

Using An Emergency Contact Card in badge holders for medical professions

People receiving medical care want to know they are in the right hands. For that reason, doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians should include their name, photo and job title on their work ID. With this information visible, people know they are legitimate.

People with a chronic medical condition can make their emergency medical ID with a badge holder and paper insert. Medical IDs should include information about a person’s medical condition, medication and food allergies, prescribed drugs, emergency contacts and blood type. Often people with a mental state have trouble remembering which medication they take and how much. If a person becomes unconscious due to a health condition, a medical ID can give people the correct medication and dosage that person needs. The wrong medication or dosage can have fatal consequences, which is why medical IDs are essential.

Anyone with a chronic medical condition should have a medical ID card. These cards are also perfect for participants in clinical trials and people with special needs. EMTs are trained to look for medical ID cards and use the information provided to save a person’s life.

Make sure to order a high-quality badge holder and insert card for your medical ID. The text printed on the medical ID must be readable and well organized. Use good quality ink that does not fade quickly. A badge and lanyard are much more readable than a bracelet and more accessible. Also, be sure to have the information printed on both sides of the insert.

The insert card must include all necessary information. If there is not enough room on one side, print the rest of the details on the other. It is better to use both sides of the card and have the text in a larger font than to have everything on one side.

School Badges

using badge holders and identification and for security in an educational environment

Badge holders can help schools that wish to increase their level of security. Administration can require students, faculty and staff to wear badges while on school property. School badges indicate that the people wearing them are allowed on campus. And, this makes it easier for faculty and security to spot anyone who might be trespassing.

For badges to efficiently work in schools, everyone should wear them the whole time they are on school property. Each student, teacher and staff member should return their badge to administration when they no longer work at or attend the school. Administration can also require authorized visitors to obtain a visitor pass and wear it while they are on school property. Once done visiting the school, visitors should return the pass right before they leave.

Badge holders with lanyards are one of the best options for school use. Students can slip them on and off without damaging the badge. Schools can customize the lanyard and badge inserts to include the school’s name and logo. This customization helps security personnel distinguish between a legitimate school badge and a fake one.

School badges can also help administration keep track of which students borrow books from the school library or borrow equipment for educational purposes. They can also indicate which students have paid for a meal plan.