This is a guest blog by Alastair MacRea, Director of Alastair MacRae Training I mentioned in last month’s blog that I live in the village of Ecton. I love it. It is such a friendly place with a very active social scene. I’m on the committee of the village hall (in village life there are always committees) and we recently had our Annual General Meeting. At a village meeting people are there because they want to participate. They want to show support for the committee or make suggestions for improvements or perhaps volunteer to be more deeply involved. A business meeting can be a very different affair.
I remember when I worked in the corporate world there were some meetings that I didn’t want to attend, didn’t need to attend and didn’t enjoy attending. Very often this was because of the poor management on the part of the person who called the meeting. I very rarely participate in formal meetings these days. I’m usually meeting clients or partners and these meetings tend to be more informal. But even informal meetings have to be managed properly.
There are four basic reasons for calling a meeting; to share information, to review progress, to tackle a problem or to launch change. Very often the first two result in the second two. As a result of sharing information it may be decided that change is necessary or progress is not what is should be because of a problem. Don’t try to do both in one meeting.
If, in your working life, you have meetings there are some simple rules to follow to help you get what you want out of your meetings.
First, and most important, ask yourself – is the meeting really necessary? Could you achieve what you need to achieve by simply talking to people directly and individually? If so, then that’s the way to go because trying to get everyone required in the same place at the same time can take time which means a delay in getting the result you need. So if you feel calling a meeting is really necessary, perhaps because you need multiple inputs or because there is too much information to share piecemeal, then you need to manage it properly.
Second, give yourself and the invitees time to prepare. At the meeting emphasis should be on making informed decisions. Prepare yourself by making sure you know the main subject. Think about what questions are likely to arise and gather the relevant information to respond or have an appropriate expert available. If there is a lot of information to share, distribute it beforehand; meeting time is not reading time.
Third, make sure everyone understands what has been agreed and that that understanding is the same for all participants. Repeat each decision or action as it is agreed; it will be difficult to correct misunderstandings after the group has dispersed and end the meeting with a summary of all decisions and actions.Contact Details for AlastairTel: 07702080941