A meeting is an assembly of persons who have come together to make decisions. An assembly of people who debate on common matters can also constitute a meeting. Meetings can be formal or informal. A formal meeting is planned. Such meetings are held at predetermined places and they are normally held at definite periods. Formal meetings are normally held in corporate settings. (Jones et al., 1984). Meetings are supervised by chairpersons. The effectiveness of meetings is determined by the experience of the chairperson or the person-in-charge. A chairperson who has sufficient knowledge in meeting management is able to conduct meetings in the desired way.
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Meeting management is one of the latest disciplines in project management. Before the emergence of meeting management, most meetings that were held were fruitless. There were no guidelines that could be used to conduct meetings. Chairpersons lacked mechanism that could be used to guide meetings. Most meetings ended up in confusions and divided results. Meeting management is useful. We should make use of its principles in our day to day life. (Cagle & Ronald, 2005)
The concept of meeting management has come a long way. It is a topic that resulted from the need to hold fruitful meetings at all times. Time is a limited resource. Time spent while holding meetings is very important. In order to ensure that fruitful meetings are held, it is important for every chairperson to gather sufficient knowledge in meeting management.
The management of any type of meeting requires the possession of certain skills. In addition, the chairman should have an understanding of certain protocols. Any person who is in charge of every meeting should advocate for the adherence of essential meeting protocols and procedure. The head of a meeting should be able to use essential tools such as agenda, minutes and the procedural controls in the correct way. (Hawkins & Charlie, 1997).
Basically, the ability to lead a meeting demands the possession of managerial skills. Chairing a meeting gives an opportunity to portray our ability to lead. In this respect, when we lead successful meetings, we will be able to portray our leadership abilities. Our success in a meeting supervision will provide us with more responsibilities.
Managing a Meeting
Managing a meeting can be a challenging activity. The best approach to use in managing a meeting is to work with the members. The chairman should view the members as a group who has objectives to achieve. Individuals who come together have common goals. It is also important to understand that the group members may have different opinions (Polivka & Edward, 1996).
Effective management of a meeting should be objective. The chairman should identify the characteristics of the group members. If there are sub-groups within the group, the chairman should lead the group accordingly. The following steps will enable a chairman to address the issues that may hinder proper meetings:
- The chairperson should clarify the objectives of the meeting. It is important to clarify the objectives before the commencement of the meeting. Moreover, the fruitfulness of a meeting is determined by the thinking ability of the members. This will depend on how the group members relate.
- Individual opinion and needs should be clarified. If a group member has opinion and needs that contradict those of the meeting, a lot of challenges will be experienced in the meeting. For the chairman to identify the individual needs, he or she should be able to critically examine what the member says. Individual needs should not be ignored. They can ruin the possibility of achieving the group’s objectives.
- The chairman should encourage objective contributions. Every member should be given an opportunity to contribute his/her views. The agenda of the meeting should be discussed objectively. In most meetings, conversations are encouraged. Conversations give an opportunity to express our opinions. It is important to improve the way members converse in a meeting.
What Are Conversations?
A conversation entails listening and talking. It is a mechanism that facilitates exchange of opinions, views, suggestions and comments. The efficiency of a conversation relies on how the members talk and listen to one another. Effective conversations are achieved when the two activities are executed simultaneously. Every member should understand that he or she should talk and listen in a meeting.
Rules of Conversation
There are four rules that govern listening and speaking. Every member in a meeting should apply these rules to the later. These rules are the following:
Participants In A Conversation Should Take Turns
Interruption harms effective conversation. When a person is speaking, the other members should listen. If a listener wants to make a contribution, the listener should wait until the speaker has presented what he/she has. Interruptions will affect the reputation of a meeting.
Members Should Come In On Cue
The rule of turn-taking should be obeyed. However, there are situations where the members in a meeting are expected to come in on cues. If a listener should make a contribution, he/she should do so once the speaker has finished speaking. A speaker should be given sufficient time when he/she is speaking. This will promote orderliness in meetings. Meetings that are orderly will achieve their objectives within the time frame that has been set. On the other hand, a meeting, which follows no order, will not be able to attain its goals. This happens due to the fact that most of the time will be spent trying to resolve members issues.
Listeners Should Be Attentive
A speaker is comfortable when the listeners are attentive. It is important to maintain eye contacts with the speaker. In addition, nods and grunts should be encouraged. They show that the listeners are paying attention.
All Contributions in a Meeting Should Be Relevant
As a chairman, you should encourage positive and relevant contributions from members. Any contribution that is made by the members should be related to what the speaker is talking about.
Usefulness of Meeting Management
There are several benefits of effective meeting management. Basically, a lot of time is spent on meetings. If such meetings are fruitless, a lot will be lost. Time, which may be used constructively, will be rendered useless if the objectives of the meeting are not achieved. Most organizations rely of meetings. (Tropmanetal, 1992).The resolutions that are passed in meetings enable the organizations to carry out their functions smoothly. Meetings are useful in all spheres of life. They facilitate easy accomplishment of goals. A meeting that is well managed makes it possible to achieve the following objectives:
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Meetings are held when there are issues to be resolved. For such issues to be resolved, there should be proper decision making guidelines. The chairman should lay down the guidelines that will be adhered to problem resolution.
Meetings that are managed correctly will facilitate sound decision making. The results from such meetings will be easily converted to profitable strategies.
Production of Reports
Normally, meetings are held to facilitate exchange of ideas and opinions. Meetings also facilitate generation of conclusions, which can be presented to those who has not participated in the meeting. When a meeting’s agenda is used, it will not be easy to come up with reports because conflicting reports will be generated from the meetings. Meeting management assures an adherence of the meeting’s agenda.
Practical Application of Meeting Management
Meeting management is an important concept in our lives. It is a concept that we apply in our day-to-day lives. Formal meetings are predetermined. Their time, venue and duration have to be determined in advance. However, informal meetings may be held any time. In this regard, meetings are a part of our everyday life. Meetings will be fruitful if all principles of meeting management are applied. A chairman should be accountable for outcome of the meeting. (Smith & Taggart, 2001).This is important because the chairman is mandated to apply the principles in order to ensure that the meeting’s objectives are achieved. Some of the areas where meeting management is helpful are:
A business owner should hold constant meetings with all the stakeholders. Business meetings determine the success of the business. A business owner should be knowledgeable about meeting management. The skills will enable him/her to address various issues that affect the profitability of the business.
Life is full of activities. Every day, we interact with different people. Meetings can be held in various social settings. At school, we are supposed to hold meetings that concern our school life. Meetings can also be held in church or mosques. Regardless of where the meetings are held, it is important to understand that meetings take place in order to facilitate the achievement of goals.
Application of Meeting Management to Present AndFuture Projects
Meeting management is applicable in all projects that we undertake. There are different types of meetings that facilitate easy project management. Regular, ad hoc and active meetings are the three types of meetings that will guarantee success in the implementation of projects. Success in project management is achieved if all meeting management principles are implemented. The principles make it easy to implement all phases of projects. (Kay etal, 2003)
Meeting management should be observed by all chairpersons. Its principles help in harmonizing the views and opinions of the members. A meeting that adheres to the principles of meeting management will ease the work of the leader. The leader will be able to coordinate the meeting’s activities (Haynes & Marion, 1988). Basically, managers, team leaders and other individuals will obtain a lot of help from this new concept. Individuals who have utilized it have managed to reap a lot of rewards. Its benefits have been documented in various books and managerial articles. Just like any management tool, the basics of meeting management should be fully implemented.
Its implementation should be objective. It should not be implemented in specific meetings. A team leader who applies the principles will realize that managing a focused group is much easier than managing a group that has varied objectives.
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