How to manage meetings.

All organizations hold meetings for one purpose or another,such as committee meetings or general assemblies as well as informal, internal meetings with volunteers, managers and employees.How your meetings are run will depend on the purpose and to some extent on the degree of formality.Formal meetings are likely to have an established structure and process, while informal meetings may be more of a conversation among the participants.

A formal meeting in progress

Tips for good meetings

There are a number of tips that can be followed to make sure that every meeting you hold is a good one.

  • Have a definite reason for every meeting.Pointless meetings waste everybody’s time.
  • Question every item on the agenda before calling the meeting.Could the items be handled as well without a meeting?
  • Limit attendance at meetings to those concerned with the topics on the agenda.The larger the crowd the more discussion and the longer the meeting.
  • Be sure participants know the purpose of the meeting in time to prepare for it.Have them bring relevant material with them.
  • Choose a meeting place that eliminates interruptions and provides a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere.
  • Make everyone turn off their mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices.
  • Plan ahead for equipment that will be needed in the meeting room and make sure it works.
  • Arrange tables and chairs so that all participants can see each other.
  • Pay attention to effective conduct of the meeting.
  • Begin on time, regardless of late arrivals.Discourage lateness by having the minutes of the meeting show not only those present and absent but also those arriving late.
  • Set up a time limit for each topic on the agenda and stick to it.
  • Have the minute taker sit where the faces of all participants are visible.

Minutes of the meeting

It is important to have a good record of what has happened in the meeting.Minutes are important because:

  • They are authenticated record of the proceedings.
  • They form the basis for any actions arising from decisions taken at the meeting.
  • They are important points of reference for an organization and
  • They form an important historical and archival record for the organization.

Minutes of meetings should include:

  • The heading,which includes the date,place and title of the organization and committee.
  • A list of those present.
  • A list of those who have apologized for not being able to attend and a record of those who were late.
  • Ratification of previous minutes with any amendments properly recorded.
  • Matters arising.
  • The items discussed in order that they were discussed.
  • Date of next meeting and
  • Action column.

The minutes should be checked and approved by the person who chaired the meeting prior to circulation.These should then be circulated to everyone who should have access to the information.It is important to adequately file minutes and all documentation related to meetings.In order to be able to track any information when needed and to ensure continuity and adequate transfer of information.

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