Meetings: Attending & Organising

Have you ever between taught ‘how to attend a meeting or how to run a meeting’? Meetings is a communications tool that is used most of the time in any organisation, yet almost most persons have not thought of the organisation of meetings or its improvements.

At toastmasters, all members are requested to attend meetings and are trained in the optimum use of the important communications tool called ‘meetings’.

I came back from my Syndic meeting of the property where I reside last Wednesday, frustrated in the way the meeting was held. Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the shareholders of an association; I was again horrified by the way the meeting was run and prepared. I am now pondering in the waste in time, money and personal irritation occurring throughout Mauritius in meetings of any sort.

Patti Hathaway, a certified professional speaker who I came to know through my AMA membership offers some tips to make our meetings more effective.

Ten Tips for More Effective Meetings

By Patti Hathaway, CSP

Love them or hate them, meetings are an everyday fact of life for most businesspeople. If you keep these ten tips in mind, everyone involved will be able to use their time more productively—assuring a positive experience.

Provide specific goals and objectives

Every person attending a meeting should be able to answer these key questions:

  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • How can I contribute?
  1. It is essential to send out an agenda prior to any meeting. List your meeting objective (i.e., the purpose for the meeting) on the agenda.
  2. Outline any preparation you would like the participants to do prior to the meeting. Also, a list of any materials participants should bring to the meeting.
  3. Invite only those people who can contribute to the meeting.

Avoid the “information assumption” trap

  1. Avoid lecture meetings. Is there a more efficient way to distribute certain information instead of calling a meeting?
  2. Prepare action item minutes.
  3. Get participants actively involved in the meeting: appoint a timekeeper and ask for help in facilitating the meeting.
  4. Have participants attend only for the time they are actually needed.

The “platinum rule” of meeting success

  1. Are your participants “big picture” or “detail” people? What format should you use for the project team’s final report? What kind of meeting minutes will best meet the needs of your participants?
  2. Start on time. Also set (and adhere to) an ending time when scheduling the meeting.
  3. Keep in mind that Robert’s Rules of Order does not necesarily increase the effectiveness of meetings. Develop your own rules of the road to best meet your group’s specific objectives and needs.


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