Some useful tips on planning and conducting a business meeting

Some useful tips on planning and conducting a business meeting

Article by Jennifer Mears

The “new thinking” that often pervades Business Management text books, seminars and trainingcourses are that meetings are a waste of time. Whilst it’s true that an over-abundance of unproductivemeetings are no good to anybody, business meetings still have an important role to play in businessdecision making, delegation and communication.To remove some of the negative associations of “Business Meetings” it is important that they areplanned and conducted as effectively as possible.Planning a Business MeetingIt is worth asking ourselves the following questions:

Is the meeting absolutely necessary?Do you need to call the whole department if only a few members hold the relevant information? Can analternative to the meeting (such as a conference phone-call, group email, etc) be as effective.Who is required to attend?Keep the numbers as small and specific as possible. Smaller groups are more productive and it is muchharder getting larger groups to reach agreement and stay on track. If necessary, it can be a good idea toinvite people to certain sections of the meeting. An example of this is meeting with the supervisors andthen having the staff in at the end of the meeting to communicate the decisions reached.Has an agenda been circulated?Having an agenda keeps people focused and adds much needed structure to the meeting. Ensure thatthe agenda is circulated ahead of time and it is as clear and concise as possible.Are visual aids required and understood?Visual aids help get points across quickly and succinctly. When conducting a meeting you need to ensurethat the data is accurate, understand where it fits with the agenda and try to anticipate any likelyquestions.Conducting the Meeting The following tips will help you conduct a business meeting:Always start at the assigned timeThe agenda has been circulated in advance so everybody knows the correct start time. Waiting forlatecomers, or stopping the meeting to tell them what they have missed will make the meeting run overtime. This will inconvenience those that did make it on time. Also, if people know you will start withoutthem they will be inclined to improve their time management for your next meeting.Start with the easier issuesStart with easily resolvable issues first and leave the more challenging ones until the end. By solving theeasier problems first, the participants will have developed a sense of rapport and successfully exercisedtheir problem solving skills. It will also help the overall productivity of the meeting getting the easiertasks resolved first. You will then know exactly how much time you have left for the weightier problems.Be strict with time managementTry to plan an amount of time for each agenda item and stick to it. If the dialogue is going in circles orno solution looks imminent then note the progress made and move on. Don’t try to force a resolution assome issues could take weeks or months to resolve.Continue unresolved topics at later meetingsIt’s always best to try and resolve as much as possible in the original meeting. However, new problemsmay come to light, or more data could be required to solve certain issues. Make a note of all unresolvedissues and schedule them for the next meeting, or arrange a smaller meeting with the individualsdirectly connected to the issue.

About the Author

Jennifer Mears is a freelance author who writes about various computers and business training topics, To know more about Jennifer’s Training ideas please visit.

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