Simple Meetings: Everything Planners Need to Know

One trend that has gained significant traction in recent years is the rise of simple meetings. Contrary to the name, simple meetings can be anything but simple when you are planning them!

According to its 2024 State of the Profession Report, the American Society of Administrative Professionals says that 83% of executive assistants (EAs) plan and organize in-person meetings, including board meetings, executive offsites, retreats, and more.

Not only do the majority of EAs and admin professionals plan simple meetings, they spend a significant amount of time doing so. TROOP recently reported that planning these types of meetings can take up 25% of an administrative professional’s workweek, according to our State of In-Person Meeting Planning

At many businesses, larger company events often steal the spotlight, but simple meetings serve as the fundamental engine driving day-to-day operations and fostering meaningful connections between colleagues. While simple meetings don't require as much preparation as large events, they still require significant planning time and effort. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Simple Meetings?

Simple meetings are smaller, more focused, in-person business gatherings that typically involve under 30 attendees and have straightforward agendas. They often occur regularly, such as quarterly, and the organizing of these meetings often falls on the plate of executive assistants. The planning timeline for simple meetings is often shorter than large-scale events, sometimes being just weeks before the meeting occurs. 

While the specifics vary from meeting to meeting, one common underlying goal is to foster direct communication, collaboration, and decision-making. Examples of common simple meetings include executive offsites, client visits, quarterly business reviews (QBRs), team retreats, departmental trainings, partner meetups, board meetings, and more.

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The Rise of Simple Meetings in Modern Business

In recent years, businesses have notably increased the number of simple meetings they hold. A 2023 survey by Meeting Professionals International found that small, informal meetings have increased by 35% over the past five years. This shift is driven by several key factors:

  1. Remote and Hybrid Teams: Companies and employees alike are trying to balance the benefits of remote work (time for deep work and concentration) with the benefits of in-person collaboration, spurring more companies to budget for in-person time regularly, whether quarterly or whenever needed. 
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Some companies are abandoning expensive annual all-hands meetings in favor of smaller meetings throughout the year. Smaller simple meetings are less expensive and more budget-friendly for companies looking to optimize expenses.
  3. Flexibility: With fewer attendees and simpler logistics, these meetings can be scheduled and adjusted more easily to fit everyone's calendar.
  4. Focused Outcomes: Simple meetings allow for more direct communication and quicker decision-making, which can be particularly effective for specific objectives.
  5. Employee Preferences: A survey by EventMB found that 60% of employees prefer smaller, more intimate meetings over large conferences, as they feel more engaged and valued.

Overall, the evolution of simple meetings reflects the need for efficiency, productivity, and adaptability in today's business landscape.

The Role of Executive Assistants in Planning Simple Meetings

Executive assistants play a pivotal role in the planning and execution of simple meetings. Their organizational skills and attention to detail ensure that these meetings run smoothly and achieve their objectives. Here are a few tips on how EAs can effectively manage simple meetings:

  1. Define Clear Objectives: Understand the purpose of the meeting and set specific, achievable goals. Clear objectives help keep the meeting on track and ensure that all participants understand the desired outcomes.
  2. Find the Right Venue: Choosing a venue that fits the meeting's purpose and accommodates all attendees can be challenging. Research various options and consider factors such as accessibility, facilities, and ambiance to select the best venue.
  3. Create a Well-Balanced Agenda: A focused and concise agenda is crucial for a productive meeting. Prioritize key topics, allocate specific time slots for each item, and include breaks to keep attendees engaged and prevent fatigue.
  4. Estimate the Budget: Simple meetings may require fewer resources, but budgeting can still be tricky. Create a detailed budget plan that includes all potential expenses, such as venue rental, catering, and technology needs, to avoid any surprises.
  5. Use Clear Communication with Attendees: Use clear and consistent communication to keep attendees informed and organized. Provide a shared brief or resource so that attendees can track any updates as the source of truth for meeting details.
  6. Leverage Technology: Use tools like TROOP ONE to streamline the planning process. TROOP ONE can help you manage all aspects of the meeting in a single platform, including travel logistics (flights and accommodations), budget management, and agenda creation.

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How to plan simple meetings

For a more comprehensive guide on how to plan simple in-person meetings, check out our Mastering Meetups: How to Plan In-Person Meetings Effectively guide. From picking the ideal destination, managing travel logistics, estimating budgets to post-mortems, and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.

Conclusion

The rise of simple meetings represents a shift toward more intentional, efficient, and impactful in-person gatherings. By understanding and embracing this trend, executive assistants and meeting planners can continue to facilitate successful in-person interactions that drive organizational success.

Looking to streamline your meeting planning process? TROOP ONE helps executive assistants save hours of time, make data-backed decisions, and manage all meetings in one place from start to finish.

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