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Conducting Effective Meetings
Most managers spend many hours each week leading or taking part in
meetings. Make sure that yours are effective and well managed. Here are
some key tips to help you make the most of meeting time.
Always ask yourself: Is this meeting necessary? Is this the most
effective way to deal with this issue, problem, project or opportunity?
Will the right people (the decision makers) be at the meeting? If not,
is there any point in having the meeting?
Set the parameters of the meeting in advance. Allocate a starting time and finishing time and stick to them.
Develop an agenda. Give the meeting some structure. What are the
objectives? Define, state clearly and stick to your objectives of the
Make your agenda mean something. Don't just have a "shopping
list." Let those attending know whether they are to discuss, decide or
recommend on the issues identified.
Appoint someone to run/chair/own the meeting whose job it is to keep the meeting moving.
Stick to the agenda as realistically as possible. If necessary,
allocate times beside each agenda item. If you cannot resolve an agenda
item, make a decision as to how it will be handled outside of the
meeting, and move on.
Is everything necessary for the meeting prepared and available? Flip charts, notepads, copies of reports or records?
What are the client's/supplier's issues likely to be?
Remember: if you meet participants at their offices, you can always get up and leave to keep the meeting on time.
Is there an alternative to a face-to-face meeting? A conference call? A videoconference? Decision making via email?
If you find that meetings with certain people aren't
workingóchange they way you hold the meeting. Involve other people. Set
a strict agenda. Change the venue, the time of day or the length of the
meeting. Talk to them about what's not working. In most cases, the
people you are meeting with are just as eager to make it effective and
Finally, keep concise notes of every meetingóit's amazing how often you need to refer back.