Effective Meetings For Managers
Meetings are an effective way of communicating to a group of people all at the same time and for a common purpose. It is important when inviting people to a regular meeting such as ‘Monthly Communication Sessions’ or ‘Team Meetings’ that an agenda is sent.
Agendas can be useful in many guises, however the main purpose of an agenda is to keep the meeting timed and focussed. Before sending the agenda out for my meetings I ask my team if they would like to add anything specific to the agenda. I will then send agendas at least one week before the meeting. Where possible, and if there are numerous agenda items, I will put the time limits down next to a certain item so that delegates know how long each point has within the makeup of the meeting and therefore that every minute within the meeting counts. Sometimes discussions may go off on tangents, however with a timed agenda, it facilitates keeping the meeting on track.
Where delegates will be discussing an item themselves, by putting a name next to an item helps them to be prepared.
Giving your delegates time to prepare is vital, however preparing for a meeting yourself is equally as important. As the chairperson or leader of the meeting, having an appropriate, concise agenda helps you do your job well. Asking the team for their inputs ahead of meetings gives them a chance to speak to you ahead of the meeting and therefore should avoid any surprises on your part.
‘Poor Preparation Provides Poor Performance’
The above widely recognised statement literally means that if you don’t prepare for something then you will not perform.
The first thing to do if you want to have a meeting is to plan it by doing the following:
Decide what you want to talk about and write an agenda
Choose when you want to hold the meeting
Book a room
Invite your delegates, send them an agenda and attach the previous minutes to the invitation •
Ensure that all relevant documentation is printed off and available prior to the meeting •
Select a secretary or minute taker
Based on each agenda item you will need to print off any relevant documentation to support the discussion of each topic, ensure that the relevant people who may have been working on projects that are being discussed within the meeting are spoken to or moreover, invited to the meeting.
I feel that it is also important to write a checklist before the meeting, dependent upon it importance so that you can check that you have all of the relevant collateral before you go into the meeting. If you have to come out halfway through the meeting to print something off, the meeting will lose its focus.
Roles & Responsibilities
If the leader or chairperson were to be taking the minutes of the meeting whilst chairing the meeting then the meeting will have no flow and will lose focus. It is therefore important that the secretary or minute taker reads the minutes from the last meeting before starting to take the minutes for the present meeting.
The chairperson is the one, who is in charge of the meeting and calls to order, makes sure that everyone is in attendance and then proceeds in asking the secretary to read the minutes from the previous meeting. Before proceeding to the present meeting they ask the delegates if there is any old business that needs any attendance.
It is common for the chairperson to choose a delegate to be the ‘Time Keeper’ who will assist the chairperson in keeping the pace of the meeting and keeping it focussed. As the secretary is usually the second most important person in the meeting, after the chairperson, it helps to delegate this responsibility to another individual as it gives them an air of authority.
These three people are facilitating the meeting and ensuring that it is running on time, however you then have your audience. Generally you will be holding meetings with colleagues and reports...
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