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Meetings and Conferences

Meetings are the primary forum in which groups conduct business and communicate

with one another. (Nelson, 2005) Meetings bring people together, providing opportunities to

speak and opportunities to listen, a method of two-way communication. Face-to-face

meetings are expensive in time away from routine tasks and often include travel expenses.

However, meetings are economical in the long run because of both the ideas they produce

and their team-building effects. (Cutlip, 2006)

WORKING REMOTELY

Types of Meetings

1. Decision-making meetings. This is the most common meeting type. Decision-making

meetings are all about making decisions.

2. Innovation meetings. Innovation is key to every successful organization. That’s why

innovation meetings are some of the most important meetings. During innovation meetings,

team members get to brainstorm and share ideas.

3. Information sharing meetings. Information sharing meetings are all about informing

attendees about a specific issue or sharing information. This type of meeting is usually

educational, such as seminars and panel debates.

4. Status update meetings. Status update meetings are all about sharing project updates and

keeping your team on top of decisions in your organization.

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5. Team building meetings. Company culture is more important than ever. Team building

meetings help your team work better together. In other words, if you’re not already

organizing team building meetings, you’re missing out.

6. Electronic meetings. Save time, reduce travel costs and allow staff in remote locations to

participate. Electronic meetings include voice and video chatting, videoconferencing, video

chatting, etc.

Kinds of Meetings

 Formal Meetings

- They are formal gatherings to present important financial, organizational, and

operational information to those who make decisions regarding these issues.

This list usually includes shareholders, senior management, board members,

and possibly individuals representing a committee that is working on a

specific project in one of these areas. Examples of formal meetings are

finance committee meetings, board of directors meetings, and annual

shareholders meetings. (Baskerville, 2013)

 Informal Meetings

- is a meeting which is far less heavily planned and regulated than a formal

business meeting, and so lacks many of the defining features of a formal

business meeting, such as minutes, a chairperson and a set agenda. These

informal meetings are far more likely to take place in a casual setting, such as

a restaurant or a coffee shop, or at one of the participant’s desks, rather than

take place in a boardroom. (Baskerville, 2013)

- terms used in conducting informal meetings:

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 Impromptu – Meetings of this kind may often be called immediately,

or with very little notice.

 Ad Hoc – Informal meetings may have little planning behind them,

and they could be just based on a single issue, rather than a lengthy

agenda

 Procedures – There are very few (if any) rules associated with

informal meetings.

Agenda and Minutes

An ‘agenda’ refers to what is planned to discuss during a meeting. It has a list of

topics or subjects that will be covered and it serves as a plan or an outline what will happen

so it is made before a meeting occurs. Agendas are a powerful form of writing because they

help groups structure communication activity, help people stay focused and on task, provide

a checklist of what exactly needs to be accomplished ensure that meeting activities run

according to time constraints, they generally make meetings more organized and productive.

Agenda should also be specific, results-oriented, timed and realistic. It is a plan of the whole

meeting, where items or topics to be discussed should be beneficial to the business and its

stakeholders. They should also be distributed after the meeting for us to have a reference of

what has been talked about. (Mirza, 2017)

Those that should be distributed after meeting aren’t agendas rather they are minutes

or minutes of the meeting. ‘Minutes’ means a summary of proceedings or happenings as

recorded in brief notes. When used in the context of a meeting, it is the official record of

what happened, what was said, or what was decided at a meeting. So, minutes can only be

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recorded after a meeting has occurred. Many times a business meeting or other official

meeting will start out with a secretary reading the minutes of the previous meeting to remind

participants of that meeting or the minutes will be distributed following the meeting for

reference purposes. (Hart, 2015)

Minutes are really helpful in meeting since they keep members who weren’t able to

attend a meeting informed. It can be written in three types. First is verbatim where the

minutes are typed word for word. Next is by resolution where the main conclusion that is

reached at the meeting is reported and lastly by narration where the concise summary of

discussion of the whole meeting is presented. (Hutchinson, 2017)

Writing the minutes should be concentrated of what has been decided and who’s

going to do it because writing everything word for word is very difficult. Notes should also

be taken down on and clear and concise manner. Minutes should also be done immediately to

inform others of what has been discussed. (Hutchinson, 2017)

Planning and Conducting Meetings

1. Be prepared.

2. Have an agenda. An agenda – the plan for your meeting – is essential.

3. Start on time and end on time.

4. Have fewer but better meetings.

5. Think inclusion, not exclusion. Don’t just invite anyone and everyone to your

meetings – select only those participants necessary to get the job done.

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6. Maintain focus. Stay on topic at all times and avoid the temptation to off track.

7. Capture action items. Have a system for capturing, summarizing and assigning

the action items to individual team members.

8. Get feedback.

SUPERVISORY MANAGEMENT

Factors to Consider Before a Meeting

 Decide Whether a Meeting is Needed. Before calling a meeting, you should

determine whether the meeting is necessary and beneficial to all.

 Have a Clear Purpose. Having an unclear purpose would waste everyone’s time,

including your own.

 Preplan the Meeting

1. Make sure that the people who are to attend the meeting have adequate advance

notice ( unless if its and emergency meeting )

2. Make sure that the key people would be able to attend.

3. Distribute the copies of the meeting agenda in advance. This will enable people to

bring essential documents with them or gather information that may prove

helpful.

4. Let people know in advance if they will be expected to provide information or

make a report.

5. Check to see that the meeting room is arranged as you desire and that the visual

aids you intend to use are functioning properly.

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6. Form a general idea of how long the meeting should last. You may want to

indicate those who will attend. It is easier to predict the length of information-

giving and information exchange meetings, however, than that of the meetings

held for fact finding or problem solving

Factors to Consider During the Meeting (Conducting)

When the meeting time arrives, you can take a number of steps to ensure the

meeting’s success.

 Starting the meeting on time.

 Designating someone to take minutes. It is helpful to have someone record the

important points discussed and agreed on the meeting.

 Clarifying your objectives and expectations.

 Keeping the meeting on the desired topic. Ineffective leadership ruins many

well-prepared meetings. Keep the meeting moving, see to it most of the members

contribute to the discussion, summarize the apparent position of the group from

time to time and address various problems related to participated behavior.

 Encouraging participation. A key skill is the ability to use questions to involve

individual members or the entire group in the communication process.

 Get closure on items discussed. Achieving closure means reaching a conclusion

with respect to a given agenda item that has been discussed.

Factors to Consider After the Meeting

 Distribute copies of the minutes. The minutes serve as a permanent record of

what has been agreed on and committed to at the meeting. It also identify

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topics on the agenda that have not been dealt with completely or that have

been suggested for future meetings.

 Follow up on decisions made. The follow up may consist personal

observations or visits.

Advantages of a Meeting

 Save time. In order to communicate on a one-on-one basis, you would have to move

from one location to another during the work period. By having a meeting, you can

save a great deal of your time that would otherwise be spent tracking down each of

your employees.

 Ensure Consistency of Information. Meetings provide opportunity for all present to

hear the same message. Some of the team members may ask questions or make

comments that help to clarify the communication or add a slightly different flavor to

it.

 Permit Formal Exchange of Information. In a meeting, a comment made by one

member frequently triggers an important idea in another member. This exchange can

lead to solutions that might not have been thought of by any one member.

Disadvantages of a Meeting

 May Water Down Decisions. Sometimes, opinions voiced by the group’s brightest

and best-informed members may not be accepted by the majority. At other times,

knowledgeable members may suppress their own disagreements simply for the sake

of harmony.

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 May Not Be Cost Effective. Meetings are more expensive than most people realize.

When employees are attending meetings, they are not doing their normal jobs.

 May Become Too Impersonal. Meeting may not allow the personal interaction

required for many sensitive issues, unlike in a one-on-one basis where employees

may communicate readily to their supervisor.

How to Close Meetings

When you hold a meeting at your small business, you don't want the attendees to

forget what was said 30 minutes after the meeting closes. It's important to ensure they absorb

the key points of your presentation and act on what you’ve shared with them. This is why it's

important to close the meeting the right way. Closing with a simple thank you or by asking,

“Any questions?,” doesn’t leave your peers with a strong final impression of what you’ve

said. Instead, you should close the meeting by recapping what was said earlier and making

recommendations. (Wythe, 2013)

 Summarize. A popular rule when it comes to business meetings goes something like

this: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them what you told them." In

other words, when you close the meeting, summarize the contents of your

presentation or what was discussed during the meeting. Use your opening as a guide

for your re-cap, or consult notes from the meeting.

 Solicit Feedback. Once you have presented your information, held your discussions

and re-capped the highlights, ask if anyone has any questions or suggestions. Just

because you or someone else has delivered information doesn’t mean the attendees

received the message correctly or understood it. If there are key stakeholders

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responsible for sections of the contents of the meeting, call them out specifically. Ask

if they have any questions or if they agree with what you’ve presented or proposed to

encourage interaction and feedback.

 Call to Action. Meetings often have a purpose other than delivering news or

information. If the meeting was designed to help people in the business move forward

with their responsibilities, include recommendations and other calls to action during

the close. For example, set deadlines for calls to action, such as gathering market data

or developing a new sales plan. Assign specific responsibilities to specific people and

include these assignments in the meeting minutes.

 Ask for an Answer. If your meeting was a sales pitch or proposal, finish your

meeting by asking them to provide specific feedback. If you ask people for a yes or

no answer, you might get turned down, but you will also have an immediate

opportunity to ask why, learn their reasons and try to overcome their objections. For

example, if the meeting was held to convince a potential client to buy your services,

close the meeting by asking him when you can begin providing your services. This

will force him into a call to action -- he will either give you a date, tell you he will get

back to you, or decline the services. In any of these cases, you will have a ready and

immediate response.

 Thank People. Thank people who helped you prepare the meeting, supplied

information or presented information. Thank the attendees for their time by telling

them how their attendance helps the business.

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References:

Mosley, D. (2001) Supervisory management: the art of empowering and developing people

Nelson, B. (2005) The management bible

Cutlip, S. (2006) Effective public relations

Wythe, H. (2013) Facilitating the Closing a Meeting/Session

Harkavay, D. (2013) How to End Meetings

Hart, T. (2015) How to Write Agendas and Meeting Minutes

Aurik, M. (2017) Working remotely

Mirza, K. (2017) Writing Agenda and Minutes

Hutchinson, A. (2017) Difference Between Agenda and Minutes

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