Meetings are among the most overused and underutilized of all management tools, yet planning and conducting a meetings is not difficult. While there are no magic formulas to guarantee success, there are a number of simple procedures that effective managers employ to improve the quality of their meetings.
There are, of course, many different kinds of meetings, ranging from two-person interchanges all the way up to industry-wide conventions with thousands of participants. Most management meetings, however, involve relatively small groups of people in a single organization. This training will concentrate on a number of techniques for running these kinds of management meetings more effectively.
Our program is divided into the planning activities to carry out before a meeting and the leadership activities to engage in during the meeting. Both kinds of work are essential: the most thorough preparation in the world will be wasted if you are careless during the meeting, while even outstanding meeting leadership rarely overcomes poor planning.
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Have someone present to take concise notes for any necessary distribution. -- Distribute minutes promptly, within 24 hours. -- Try holding some meetings with everyone standing. More gets done in less time. -- Minimize "small talk." Do not contribute to unnecessary conversation yourself. -- Spend a few minutes at the end to critique the meeting just concluded. -- Read a good book on how to conduct better meetings. -- Be prepared for the meeting. Resist tangents. Stay on course. -- Consider alternatives to meetings, such as telephone conference calls.
You can schedule all the meetings you want to, and if you are not prepared to take charge then you’re wasting your time. The time you invest planning a meeting is time well spent. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can enjoy the fruit of a productive meeting. Before you schedule a meeting, determine its purpose and necessity. Document specifically what you expect to accomplish during the meeting (including goals and objectives). A clearly written plan allows you to focus solely on the issues you need to address. Next, determine whether this purpose can be more efficiently achieved by some other means, such as a phone call, a written memo, or an informal conversation.
Keep the size of the meeting as small as possible. The larger the group, the more complicated communication becomes and the more garbled the purpose may get. For example, with a group of two, there are two communication channels, add a third person and six channels have been created. With each additional person, the number of communication channels increases expedientially. When selecting participants for the meeting, consider the following criteria: -- expertise in the topics -- contribution to the discussion -- pre-existing personal conflicts -need for new information.