Meetings are an integral part of our working lives. A meeting is arguably the best way to share knowledge and to work together to develop better ideas than what would be possible individually. What constitutes a "good" meeting? Some of the usual characteristics are clarity about the purpose of the meeting, a common objective, an effective chairperson, participants well prepared, participation by all attendees, constructive discussion around issues and a clear way forward for everyone leaving the meeting. In addition, some people refer to a structured agenda, clear roles and time slots for each topic.
So, what goes wrong at a lot of meetings? Why do we leave feeling tired, frustrated, despondent that we have just wasted time when we have so much to do?
Common complaints about meetings
What's the purpose of the meeting?
Let everyone know when the meeting is, its purpose, who is coming, the agenda, what is expected from whom in terms of progress and materials to share
4. Structure and control
Make sure there is an agenda and a time allocated
to the meeting
5. Summarise and record
Make sure everyone knows what is expected
of them before they leave the meeting. If necessary, circulate an action
list by e-mail.
Some tips for speaking at meetings:
1. Clarify your objective - what is the point you want to make? This makes it easier for the listener to tune in
2. Keep your contributions short - helps to keep people interested and less likely to interrupt than if they know you are likely to talk for ten minutes! It also means that you are less likely to get bogged down in detail.
3. Be clear and logical - emphasise the important points
4. Check understanding - to make sure your have managed to get your message across
5. Be animated - this keeps interest. Of course, don't do too far and distract people from your key messages.
6. Avoid emotive phrases - particularly if the situation is sensitive
7. Summarise your main message - vital if you have been speaking for a long time.
(adapted from: www.thebusyexec.com/pro_development/s_co_me.htm)
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