What are some tips for running an effective family business meeting?

Family business meetings can be intimidating but are critical for businesses that are being passed to the next generation. Communication is a major factor in the success of any business and even more so in family businesses. Running family business meetings helps keep the line of communication open and can help ensure everyone is on the same page.

How to run effective family business meetings

Set the meeting objective

What is the purpose of the meeting? It’s important to define the purpose, create an agenda and share it with everyone who is expected to attend the meeting.

Choose a lead

This could be a meeting coordinator and/​or a facilitator. The meeting coordinator will perform duties such as scheduling the meeting, booking a meeting space, taking notes and more. In some cases, you may decide that the meeting lead should be a third-party facilitator. Having an objective outside party can help manage hard conversations and keep the meeting professional.

Decide on the logistics

Who needs to attend the meeting? How long will it take? Where will the meeting take place? These are important decisions to make well in advance to ensure that people have blocked the time or made the necessary travel arrangements.

Define and communicate the meeting rules

Clearly communicating any rules for the meeting will set expectations and help keep everyone on the same page. For example, you may want to define how key decisions will be made (i.e., equal voting or by ownership).

Have a plan for emotional conversations

Sticking to the agenda will keep topics to business-related activities but there is awlays a chance that these conversations can go sideways when family dynamics are involved. If a conversation ever gets to emotional, it’s important for the coordinator or facilitator to park the conversation and help participants move on to the next topic.

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