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How to Achieve Effective Meetings

Updated on February 18, 2014

MEETINGS ARE OFTEN considered as a waste of time if nothing comes out of it. In most corporations and organizations, attendance in “meetings” is a part of life of the executive, officer, or any employee often on the higher echelon of the company. Meetings are essential to thresh out issues, map out a particular course of action, report the result of a campaign, clarify a newly issued office regulation, and determine the present financial status of the company. But whatever agenda there may be, meetings have to be made effective and suited for the purpose.

To start with, meetings to be effective have to start on time. A meeting that starts late wastes precious time. Attendees should be properly notified as to the schedule and venue of the meeting. Punctuality should be a trait of everyone invited to attend a meeting. Learn to respect other person’s time by being prompt in attending meetings.

During the meeting, it is necessary that every every idea be taken into consideration. Every idea though irrelevant at the outset should not be discarded outright. If an organization is desperate for a solution, every proposal is critical. An impertinent idea may be a springboard for a brighter solution. What is important is to listen to the idea first, dissect, analyze and get all the strong points. Listen. Just listen. Try to be patient when someone is proposing an idea or an opinion even if it is different or conflicting with your own.

More often than not, the most common element lacking to achieve an effective meeting is “listening”. Aside from speaking, listening is a very important tool to achieve an effective meeting. There had been countless meetings where all the participants speak at the same time. How can an agreement be achieved if everyone speaks and no one listens?

Hold your peace until the speaker has fully verbalized his or her views and opinion. If there are matters that you wish to clarify while the person is speaking, politely ask if questions can be entertained at that time. Get a pen and paper. Write notes. Instead of interrupting the speaker, you can write down your questions and ask it at the end of the speech or presentation. Writing down your questions, gives you the opportunity in ensuring that your queries are relevant to the topic. Delays are likewise avoided and issues are not muddled up by immaterial and impertinent inquiries. After the speaker has finished courteously request to be recognized before asking your question. As much as possible avoid cross discussion with your fellow attendees.

If you are the speaker in a meeting, try to be brief and direct to the point. A meeting is not the proper forum to filibuster on issues not included in the agenda. Belaboring on a point already discussed unduly prolongs the meeting without resolving other substantial concerns. When speaking, speak in a firm but respectful manner avoiding redundancies. Speaking direct to the point saves time and gives others a chance to raise their own thoughts.

In a meeting, a person creates a “thesis” and the other an “anti-thesis”. It is therefore essential to get the idea of all the attendees. If the proponent is able to present his idea, views or opinion and another an opposite idea or an an-thesis in a clear and logical manner then there is great possibility for a “meeting of the minds” or a “synthesis” to occur where the proponents agree on a certain proposition resulting to a consensus. Thus, the main objective of any meeting is to extract the thoughts of every participant. These thoughts are then analyzed to create a product called a “consensus”.

To achieve an effective meeting, the following rules may be observed: (1) notice is served to all attendees at least one day before the meeting preferably with the agenda; (2) the meeting should start promptly without delay after determination of the required quorum; (3) avoid deviations from the agenda; (4) the chair facilitates the conduct of the meeting; (5) the secretary records the proceedings; (6) one speaker at a time; and (7) no cross discussion among the attendees.

Meetings should not be a waste of time but rather a fruitful endeavor to achieve desired results.

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