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Make Meetings Matter – operational management

“Scientists say that coffee and donuts release chemicals into the brain that create the illusion that meetings are a productive way to get things done.” Randy Glasbergen

Business life is dominated by meetings: network meetings, catch up coffee meetings; prospect meetings; sales meetings; operational meetings; planning and strategic meetings – you get the drift?  Chances are you are you frustrated by return on the time you invest?

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I have just agreed to take on the role of Director of Toastmasters International Area 42, it has given me thought to how to make the most of the officer meetings that I’ve planned.

Pre Meeting Planning

As with all business activities; planning is at the heart of successful business meetings.

  • Clarify its purpose – why are you having or going to this meeting?  Is it necessary?  Are there alternatives to having a meeting?
  • Identify outcomes – what do you want to get from this meeting? Be focused.
  • Select who the appropriate attendees are and make sure they can attend?
  • Agree an agenda – the framework upon which the meeting rests.
  • Choose a lead person or time keeper or chair.
  • Provide pre-meeting information so that participants can come prepared with full knowledge of the subjects under discussion.

Follow up and follow through

The meeting itself will flow if you have done your preparation, communicated the purpose and set an agenda.  However, the true test of effectiveness is in the follow up and the follow through.  Once again this is much more likely to happen if you prepare and develop the habit of closing out.  Before you close the meeting take time to review decisions / agreements and determine who is going to take responsibility for follow up actions.  Agree priorities and time scales for action and record key decisions.

Follow up the meeting with a written record of what has been agreed.  That way if there is any misunderstanding it can be dealt in a timely fashion and certainly before the next meeting.  The role of record keeping should never be over looked. 

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