Meetings are critical ways to communicate in business. They can be a very useful way to exchange ideas, discuss problems and make plans for the future. They also help people to feel they are important part of a team. On the flip side, if they are not well organized, they can leave people feeling frustrated, confused and feeling as though they have wasted their time.
Setting up the Meeting Room
If presentations are to be made at the meeting it is crucial to set up with the right equipment, and ready for use, such as projectors or laptops. For example, though most people use laptops, they generally need to connect to a large screen, therefore having the right cables and power sockets as well as a suitable screen, are vital.
There should be enough seats for the attendees, paper and pens for note taking, copies of the agenda and any papers that need to be discussed, even if these have been circulated in advance. If there is to be a brainstorming session, wipe boards, flipcharts and pens should be in the room ready for use.
Refreshments, if the meeting is a lengthy one, should be arranged in advance. If the meeting is a fairly brief one, then water and glasses is usually sufficient. Of course you could use external meeting room providers that can handle the whole management of the room and ensure it is set up from the start.
Importance of an Agenda
All meetings should have an agenda; this should be circulated to all the attendees prior to the meeting. This is especially important if people are to be adequately prepared to make an effective contribution to the meeting. The agenda is a simple list of the items to be discussed, and the order in which they will come up.
Preparing the agenda can actually help you to plan the order of the meeting, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute. It is also important to take into account the period of time allotted to each item, and to try to keep to those times during the meeting. It is normally the responsibility of the chairperson to prepare the agenda.
Role of the Chairperson
It is the role of the chairperson to ensure the meeting runs efficiently, all the items on the agenda are discussed, and that everyone has the opportunity to air their views.
The chairperson generally welcomes everyone to the meeting, summaries the reason for the meeting, makes sure that decisions are reached, and that the meeting starts and concludes on time. If needed, they appoint someone to take notes or minutes.
For anyone making a presentation, knowing that all the necessary equipment is available is reassuring. Make sure that the presentation fits in to the allotted time, including time for any question and answer sessions. Run through the presentation beforehand to practice, and to check all the slides are in the correct order and working properly. Keep a printed copy, just in case!
Arranging meetings away from the normal place of work has several benefits. If you are meeting clients it is useful to meeting in place which is central, and easy to get to for everyone. Being away from the normal workplace reduces the chance of interruptions, a change of environment can provide a more relaxed atmosphere, subsequently helping to generate a more productive meeting.
If you want meetings to be fruitful and interesting, there are a few general principles to follow. Don’t interrupt other contributors, don’t start conversations amongst yourselves, always respect other people’s point of view and opinion.
If you disagree with someone, wait until they have finished talking, then calmly and politely put your view forward. Make sure you are prepared in advance, and willing to contribute.
About the author: Paul decided to call it quits after working in Hong Kong for a big bank and now writes posts for business blogs. He is currently in the process of developing his own professional coaching business. Information referenced from www.resourcecentre.org.uk