On one fine day, you reached the office with full enthusiasm and energy to start your work. Thinking to clean up a pile of papers , journal and other stuff, you noticed a memo on the desk. It informs you about the meeting to be held at 3 pm. "Oh! No! another meeting!" you groan. Every one of us has experienced the dread of having to spend an afternoon in a meeting. Even though, meetings are facts of office life, most of them prove to be unproductive and frustrating. As the saying goes,"A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted", meeting prove to be a drain on valuable time and energy.
Meetings are the bane of the workplace according to a managemnt guru. He says "they go beyond the direction and purpose for which they are held and no concrete solutions emerge from most meetings even at the board room". This may lead to a pessimistic attitude of employees towards meetings and affects their job performence. But meetings and prove to be effective when organised and managed properly. If you want to turn your meetings into more interesting and productive activity, consider these tips:
Purpose: The preparation for meeeting should start before it ever starts. Determine the purpose of meeting, further still better to assess the need for the meeting. It may prove to be a waste of time to those who contribute only a little. Sometimes, to disseminate information other comunication media, such as sending on e-mail or posting the information on the company's Internet may be explored.
Agenda: If you feel it important to conduct a meeting, then list the items to be discussed and time allotted to each issue. Prioritise the items in terms of their importance . Try to address the critical and important issues and leave off the less important that can be carried to a later date. Draft the agenda carefully, follow it closely .
Who all: Invite only those people whose decisions have a significant impact on the key issues. Choose participants based on what they can contribute on what they will get out of the meeting. Consider the best number of participants and make sure they have the ability to make productive decisions and turn the meeting in to a successful one.
Time it: Always adhere to the time allotted to discuss each point or allotted to each participant.
Spending long hours in meetings, costs organisations heavily. Ensure only relevant issues are drafted in the agenda. Appoint a time keeper to keep a watch on the time consumption. Allow no late comers . It causes distraction and points may have to be repeated for the late comers.
Participation: A meeting cannot be sucessful without the active participation from everyone involved. Every participant needs to express his / her views and opinions and contribute to the effectiveness of meetings. If someone has no point to explain, he/ she should not have been invited. With active participation of all issues can be settled across the table, with no need for more meetings on the subject or issue.
Rules: Members should not interrupt while someone is speaking, but listen attentively. All people at the meeting should address the topic and not use it as a forum to rake up other issues. Ask for electronic gadgets like mobile, laptops, blackberries not to be used during the meeting.
Now, it is time to examine and evalute the effectiveness of the meeting. A meeting proves to be productive if it has succeeded in achieving its objectives . Prepare a summary report of what needs to be done in future and who is going to do it.
The meetings should not only provide solutions to problems but also enhance the motivation and decision making abilities of participants.
Meetings, the so called "The great white collar crime' need not become a frustrating and unproducive issue in the workplace. However, a little bit if commitment, discipline, and preparation can produce effective results. Meeting can enhance the business goals and create an environment where a team can come together.
*Extracted from the pages of "The Hindu" Newspaper