Understand how to lead effective meetings
A meeting is a gathering of two or more people which can be formal or informal and is convened to achieve a common goal through verbal interaction.
Purpose of a meeting
Meetings are held for a variety of reasons, with the most important being communication. Within the National Health Service we hold monthly staff meetings for the purpose of receiving updates from managers, exchanging information and ideas, sharing views, co-ordinating activities and formulating plans for the service we deliver. This type of meeting is also a good opportunity for staff to keep in touch, gather information, to express concerns as a collective and network. Meetings are also held to problem solve, make decisions, resolve disputes and streamline a service, these meetings would have specific objectives. Another common reason for a meeting is to review, assess, monitor and evaluate personal progress, and provide feedback individually e.g. Personal Development Review (PDR). Meetings can also be used for consultation, creating new ideas and bargaining
Purpose and structure of an agenda
An agenda is the order of items to be discussed in a formal meeting. An agenda would give the structure of the meeting and any objectives. It is important that agendas are distributed in advance to give members time to consider the topics for discussion and allow attendees the opportunity to add items if relevant. An agenda should include the time and place of the meeting, list of attendees, apologies followed by minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising from these. Following this there will be a list of items of a realistic number to be discussed in logical order usually most important first (see attached example). The final item is usually any other business often abbreviated to ‘AOB’.
How to select and invite the right people to attend the meeting
It is important to invite people who are knowledgeable of and relevant to the agenda topics. It is also important to invite those who will be affected by the decisions made at the meeting. A balance of people is also vital e.g. management, stakeholders and clinicians. When selecting the correct individuals to attend the meeting, it is important to refer to the agenda so all items have a relevant representation. Union or staff-side representatives may also be invited. It may be appropriate in some cases to have individuals attend for only part of the meeting. This occurs in the school governors meeting I attend, where the School Council representatives stay for part of the meeting but usually leave following the interval as confidential matters on discipline or staff changes may need to be discussed.
How to prepare prior to a meeting
An effective meeting is dependent upon good preparation. First it is important to select and book the venue, ensuring it is appropriate for all attendees. Familiarity with the room layout, facilities and refreshments will allow for the meeting to run smoothly. All documentation relevant to the meeting should be distributed to the attendees in a timely manner – ideally at least a week before the meeting. This information should include minutes of the last meeting, agenda, action points and plans and any other supporting documents. Be clear how long you expect the meeting to take and ensure the attendees are aware of the time frames. Reading around the subject prior to the meeting is also essential so you have additional knowledge and background information. This can help to anticipate potential questions so they can be answered swiftly and confidently. Ensure your diary isn’t hectic prior to the meeting so you arrive calm and collected and importantly, on time.
Roles and responsibilities of a Chairperson, Secretary and Individuals
The Chairperson is essentially the manager of the meeting and they ensure the agenda and minutes are appropriate to the meeting....
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