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Business Meetings

How to plan and conduct business meetings that really work

Picture perfect meetings only exist in picturesStrive for success, not perfection 2

Business Meetings
Definition: A gathering in which a purposeful exchange or transaction occurs among three or more people with a common interest, topic, or problem.

When Should You Call a Meeting?

Answer: When you cannot accomplish your communication objectives or goals in any other way. In other words, a meeting is the communication tool of last resort, after you have considered and discarded other forms of information exchange.

Don't Call Meetings When:

A phone call or a memo would do. A key person is not available. Participants don't have time to prepare. Personality conflicts or the plans of higher management might make the meeting a waste of time. It costs too much.

You Should Consider Calling a Meeting to:

Talk about goals. Reach a consensus. Listen to reports. Discover or solve problems. Train people. Gather opinions.

Call Meetings to:

Explain plans and programs. Keep things moving. Tell people what they're supposed to do and how they're to do it. Build morale.

Business Meetings
Part of democracy Consider what meetings have accomplished Celebrate not dread

Meet With People Who:

Have to carry out what's decided Have valuable information or good ideas Can approve the results Represent divergent views Are indispensable to the success of the decision

Three Principal Types of Business Meetings:

Informational Meetings
Problem-Solving Meetings Suggested-Solution Meetings


Leadership Responsibilities
Any successful meeting depends in large measure on the competence and motivation of the leader. In the absence of effective leadership, no group, no matter how well intentioned, will experience the success they hope for. Three general leadership styles predominate at business and group meetings.

Leadership Styles
Authoritarian: behavior ranges from firm suggestions to commands that must be carried out. Democratic: works on the principle of participation and mutual support. Leaderless: an abdication of responsibility from one person to the group as a whole.

How Do You Solve a Problem in a Meeting?

State the problem in the form of an affirmative question. Define and limit the problem. Collect facts on the history of the problem. Establish criteria. Assess those criteria in light of their practicality, feasibility, and the rights of others.

How Do You Solve a Problem in a Meeting?

List possible solutions. Evaluate suggested solutions. Determine a course of action. Tell those responsible for making the solution succeed.


Consider the problem and determine your purpose.

As You Plan for a Meeting:

First, decide whether a meeting should be called at all. Next, you must determine the purpose for the meeting. It should be timely, genuine, important, and meaningful for the conferees. It must also be within their sphere of responsibility and influence.

As You Plan for a Meeting:

Then, Decide Who Should Participate.
Invite those who must carry out what's been decided. Invite those who have valuable information, good ideas, or divergent views. Include those who can approve the results or are indispensable to the success of the decision.


As You Plan for a Meeting:

Arrange for a Meeting Time, Date, and Place.
What times and dates are most convenient? In the absence of convenience, when can everyone be there? Where should you meet? Will the location prove conducive to achieving your goals, or distracting?

Coordinate Details at the Meeting Site.

As You Plan for a Meeting:

Consider seating, lighting, acoustics, audiovisual requirements, environmental controls, workspace, travel requirements, location, and cost. Talk to or meet with those responsible for supporting or carrying out your plans for the meeting, including audio-visual technicians, caterers, banquet and meeting managers.

As You Plan for a Meeting:

Announce an Agenda.
Unless secrecy is essential, meetings are more likely to succeed with an agenda. State the problem properly, as a question of fact, value, or policy. Be sure to include all relevant detail in the announcement, including topic, date, time, place, and responsibilities of the participants.

As You Plan for a Meeting:

Take Care of Physical Arrangements.
Seating, lighting, public address system, visual support systems, environmental controls, tables, workspace Support materials, pencils, pens, markers, chalk, paper, refreshments Reference materials, background data

Informal Responsibilities:
Prepare yourself thoroughly. Assume your given role during the meeting:

Organizer Clarifier Questioner Expert

Critical Tester Conciliator Helper of others Energizer


Procedures: How Do You Run an Effective Meeting?

Begin and end on time. Follow the agenda.

Stimulate discussion, encourage full participation from everyone present. Focus the groups' effort on their goals.

Procedures: How Do You Run an Effective Meeting?

Understand the roles of participants: group task roles, group building and maintenance roles, and individual roles.

Confront or ignore those working at cross-purpose with the group.

Sort, select, interpret data to reach a conclusion.

Procedures: How Do You Run an Effective Meeting?

State the conclusion and plan of action. Follow-up after the meeting has concluded: distribute notes or minutes and take the actions you said you would.

Meetings I Dislike
One person does all the talking Dont know the purpose Nothing accomplished Sitting for more than one hour