Monday, 2 August 2010

How To Conduct A Meeting - Planning

From the beginning of the human evolution to the present day, humans had met for one thing or the other. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors probably sat in a circle and discussed (mostly by sign language and groans) on many things, the foremost being lunch and dinner. They would have also 'talked' about keeping themselves and their families safe, to prepare for the coming winter, or summer. Anything of common interest.

Today,although almost none have to hunt and kill for our lunch, we meet to discuss many things. Organizations, big or small, have meetings all the time. It can be to solve a problem or to outline a strategy to beat the competitor or to plan a Christmas party.

The fact is ,meeting to discuss about a matter is a very human thing to do. You don't see dogs in your block sitting in a round table and discussing how to beat the daylights out of the of the neighbouring blocks , do you?

Having attended and chaired hundreds of meetings, I have several tips that I can share and will be writing in the next few entries. I hope you find it useful.

Let us start with planning.

The first step of any successful venture is planning.

There are several things that you must plan before you can even start a meeting.

1. First and foremost decide if you really need a meeting. There are several ways you can get messages across in today's information age. If a matter can be resolved by phone calls, text message, e-mails or just a short discussion, do it. A lot of time and resources are wasted by meetings that are not necessary.

2. Define your purpose. If you have decided to have a meeting then define what you want out of it.

3. Have an agenda. Script it carefully and distribute it before the meeting.

4. Prepare what to say. Be clear to yourself first before you speak.

5. Time. The best time to have meetings are the morning hours. That is when everyone energy is at the peak. Avoid near lunch or just after lunch meetings. Also avoid having meetings near the end of the workday and/or workweek.

6. Place . Usually most organizations have meeting rooms. Make full use of the space and tools provided. The place must be well lit. Not dim and not too bright.

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