American writer Dave Barry once said: “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.”
Training specialist Rose Gray has these top strategies for ensuring that meetings become time well spent.
- Know the objective of the meeting.
Meetings are for four reasons only: to communicate, coordinate, control and plan. All four result in decision-making and action. Hold a meeting only if you cannot do it alone.
- Have respect for time.
Begin on time and end on time. Maintain tight meeting control and dismiss attendees who arrive late. Allocate a time for each item on the agenda. Don’t serve tea or coffee.
- Observe professional meeting etiquette.
State the purpose and the objective of the meeting on the agenda. Allow people to contribute without dominating the discussion. Don’t allow people to have private conversations.
- Follow the agenda.
Respect the agenda and don’t add items. If time runs out, don’t extend the meeting as attendees have tight schedules.
- Apply agenda strategies.
The agenda prior to the meeting is brief and states topics to be discussed. Encourage attendees to write their own notes – they will pay greater attention.
- Know meeting procedure.
Meeting procedure is well established and it works. Ensure that minutes are read and accepted, that motions are read and that meetings are only “closed” if all agenda items are covered. If not, they are “adjourned” until a later date.
- Be assertive.
Assertiveness is required to handle monopolisers, distracters, snipers and skeptics.
- Distribute minutes quickly.
Meeting minutes must be distributed as soon as possible. Prompt distribution of the minutes will remind attendees to place priority on matters that need attention.
For more information contact Rose Gray, Kwelanga Training, +27 11 704 0720, or www.kwelangatraining.co.za