Meeting Management

Providing administrative support for effective meetings: A guide for Admins

The purpose of this white paper is to show you how to optimise your meeting management processes and reduce your meeting preparation time to run productive, secure and cost-effective formal meetings.

Personal assistant providing administrative support for meetings

Effective executive meetings have a significant impact on the performance of an organisation. As the complexity of the business environment continues to grow, leaders are faced with new challenges and opportunities, and, when run properly, meetings are pivotal in navigating difficulties, and capitalising on opportunities. Therefore, the importance of effective business administration cannot be understated. 

Meeting administrators, therefore, have a vital role to play. From assembling the agenda and compiling meeting materials in the pre-meeting phase, to distributing the meeting minutes post-meeting, it is incumbent upon those providing administrative support to ensure that the meeting process runs smoothly. Administrators are the glue that keeps the meeting together, and the oil that keeps the engine firing at full steam. 

The role of an administrator, therefore, is one of huge responsibility, and is a time-consuming and challenging task. In this article and our whitepaper, we will begin to explore the components of success in providing administrative support for meetings. 

How do you arrange a meeting? 

Arranging executive meetings is not straightforward for a number of reasons. The rate of change, along with a complex mixture of stakeholders, and high expectations, all mean that there is a large amount of pressure heaped on those providing administrative support for meetings. 

When they arrange a meeting, administrators not only need to collate and distribute all of the necessary management information, but they are also charged with creating an effective meeting agenda. In isolation, this task may sound simple, but when a range of stakeholders and participants need to collaborate on agenda creation, each providing their own input, this task can snowball into something much more complicated very quickly. 

Therefore, the process of arranging a meeting involves:

  • Making sure all those who need to attend are invited 
  • Ensuring all meeting materials are distributed in a timely manner
  • Creating and circulating an agenda with clear roles and responsibilities (we recommend using a meeting agenda template to do this), and 
  • Encouraging collaboration and preparation from all participants. 

This all sounds straightforward enough, however there is plenty of room for complexity and error. For example, are documents to be printed physically? If so, how do you manage the process if there are last-minute changes to documents? Also, if all participants are engaged and collaborating ahead of the meeting, how do you manage the issue of version control? After all, the last thing you would want is for meeting participants to be working with out of date information. This would waste precious time. 

Whose responsibility is it to arrange a meeting? 

As we can already see, the job of a meeting administrator is a varied and important one. But whose responsibility is this? The answer isn’t a simple one, as these tasks can be fulfilled by multiple individuals, and this responsibility varies between companies.

In our experience, however, administrative support for meetings is usually provided by one or a combination of the following: 

  • Corporate Secretary: They often assume overall responsibility for meeting administration, including developing and circulating agendas and taking and distributing meeting minutes. 
  • Assistant to the Corporate Secretary: They frequently support the Corporate Secretary with some of the more administrative parts of meeting administration, such as managing updates to documents, or printing and distributing meeting materials. 
  • Executive Assistants to Participants: If those joining a meeting are C-Suite or senior leadership, it is likely that their Executive Assistant will be charged with providing administrative support at their end. This will include collating information, managing diaries, and in some cases working by proxy to ensure that all necessary arrangements are made. 

To arrange a meeting, it is likely that more than one pair of hands are required. Whilst a Corporate Secretary will take overall responsibility for this process, there will be support from a number of functions - both in terms of overall organisation, and in terms of ensuring that participants are prepared to attend, collaborate, and contribute. 

The purpose of this white paper is to explore some of the challenges of meeting administration in the pre-meeting, in-meeting, and post-meeting phases. We will demonstrate how those providing administrative support can optimise their meeting management processes and reduce meeting preparation time in order to run productive, secure and cost-effective executive and board meetings. 

You will read more about:

  • The art of running meetings and taking meeting minutes
  • How to select the best meeting management tools for your organisation
  • How to foster a meeting culture that focuses on productivity, security and cost-efficiency.