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How to Have Successful Group Meetings
Chapter 3 Do's and Don'ts
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Successful Meetings                                                chapter 3 

 

 

Tips for Participation:

Do’s and Don’ts

 

What to Do:

 

1)      Plan to have meetings early, preferably first thing in the morning and avoid late afternoon meetings as much as possible.

2)      Arrive and be on time.

3)      Be prepared.

4)      Share responsibility for following and enforcing the ground rules your group has set for meetings.

5)      Stick to the agenda and try not to veer off into other topics.

6)      Listen to others thoughts, opinions, facts, etc. thoughtfully and respectfully

7)      Use consensus to make decisions.

8)      Be realistic when accepting responsibilities for a follow up task; only accept if you know that you are going to follow through.

9)      Use appropriate humor only and make sure it is only in moderation and at appropriate times.

10)  Always remember to dress properly!

 

What you shouldn’t do:

 

1)   No interruptions, “peanut gallery”, cell phone calls, or other disruptions.

2)      No silent observers should be present at the meeting.

3)      No killer phrases. Ex: “That idea is garbage, no one would use that!”

4)      Don’t be late to the meeting.

5)      You shouldn’t go unprepared not knowing what is going to the discussed at the meeting.

6)      You shouldn’t keep your opinions, fact, thoughts, etc. to yourself; voice them out that is what a meeting is for.

7)      You shouldn’t avoid conflicts with group members, if you have any try to resolve them.

8)      Don’t bring a negative attitude to the meeting because it will eventually affect everyone else that is present.

9)      You shouldn’t turn away when someone is voicing their opinions, thoughts, facts, etc. because they are just as important as yours.

10)  You shouldn’t be loud and obnoxious it’s not a playground (Wilcox 2005).

 

 

Are You an Effective Participant?

 

Take this self-test to help you find out

Directions: You can tell how useful you are in meetings by responding to the following statements. Be as honest as you can.  If your answer is ‘never’ mark option 1; if it is ‘always’ mark option 4- and so forth.

 

1) I allow speakers to finish making their point before I speak.   1  2  3  4 

 

2) I am confident when making a point or stating my views.        1  2  3  4

 

3) I am able to concede when I am wrong.                                1  2  3  4

 

4) I can control the tone of my voice when I feel nervous.          1  2  3  4

 

5) My body language suggests self-confidence.                          1  2  3  4

 

6) I dress appropriately for each meeting I attend.                      1  2  3  4

 

7) I listen carefully to what other people are saying in a meeting. 1  2  3  4

 

8) I am thoroughly prepared for every meeting I attend.             1  2  3  4

 

9) I know what my objectives are before a meeting and I          1  2  3  4

      complete them so that I am prepared.                                                         

 

10) I share a common purpose and goal with others.                 1  2  3  4

(T, Hindle 1998)

 

Self Check/Test:

The higher you score the more effectively you contribute to meetings!

 

 

 

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

 

 

 

 

Which particular activity will you try to improve in your next meeting, and how will you try to improve the activity?

 

 

Meeting “Do’s and Don’ts”

 

There are times when meetings are necessary and these are critical times.  When holding a meeting people do so because there are issues, projects, etc. that need to be discussed.   In order to have effective meetings there are certain things that you do and those that you don’t; here we will discuss these topics.  We have made a list of what we feel are those items that are most important in a meeting that you should do and those that you shouldn’t.

 

What to do:

 

1)      Plan to have meetings in the morning and avoid late afternoon meetings as much as possible.

 

-         Holding a meeting early is essential, because at this time, people are not divulged in their work, they aren’t thinking about what they have to get done for the day, and they aren’t ready to go home for the day.

 

2)      Arrive and be on time

 

-         Showing up late to a meeting is the worst possible thing to do.  You become a nuisance and a distraction when you walk in late.  You will notice that everyone’s attentions shifts from the speaker’s to you as you enter the door.  This also makes you look like the bad guy in front of all your colleagues who made it a priority to arrive on time to the meeting.

 

3)      Be prepared

 

-         If you show up to a meeting unprepared, you will be lost.  You want to make sure you go over all the materials before going to a meeting.  If you are prepared properly, you will be more effective and you will be able to give more feedback and input that is vital to the group’s success.   

 

4)      Share responsibility for following and enforcing the ground rules your group has set for meetings.

 

-         Everyone should follow ground rules that are set, they are created for a reason.  If you notice that someone is breaking a ground rule it should not be the responsibility of a single member to point it out, it should be the responsibility of everyone in the group to do so.  Remember that you are only as strong as your weakest link.

 

5)      Stick to the agenda, and try not to veer off into other topics.

 

-         The agenda is created for a reason and should be followed.  By veering off into other topics you are defeating the purpose of holding a meeting.  You will also notice, when you go off topic the amount you accomplish will be a lot less than if you stick to the agenda. Completion of a project or the making of a decision would also be delayed.

 

6)      Listen to others thoughts, opinions, facts, etc. thoughtfully and respectfully.

 

-         Everyone’s input is critical towards meeting the goal.  By listening to others, you have a greater chance of meeting your goal and possibly exceeding it.  Every bit of information that you can get is helpful, and remember that no input is bad input because the entire group is focused towards the same goal.

 

7)      Use consensus to make decisions.

 

-         By allowing a consensus you give everyone a chance to voice how they feel about what decisions are to be made.  There should never be a “majority rules” attitude when decisions are being made because not everyone will agree all time.  A consensus will allow for better decisions to be made with less conflict amongst members.

 

8)      Be realistic when accepting responsibilities for a follow up task; only accept if you know that you are going to follow through.

 

-         If you do not think that you can get the job done on time then do not accept it, don’t take on more than you can handle.  When you accept a task, everyone expects you to follow through with it, so if you don’t think you can perform, then don’t accept the responsibilities.

 

9)      Use appropriate humor only and make sure it is only in moderation and at appropriate times.

 

-         Sometimes humor can take more away from a meeting than it can give to a meeting.  When there are serious, critical decisions being made, you don’t want to be a jester.  Certain times there are stressful situations when everyone could use a good laugh and other times it is not appropriate.

 

10)   Always remember to dress appropriately!

 

-         When you’re in a professional environment make sure you dress that way.  By showing up in blue jeans and a t-shirt to a meeting, you are definitely setting yourself up for failure.  Make sure you dress for the occasion (Lippencott 46).

 

 

What not to do:

 

1)        No interruptions, “peanut gallery”, cell phone calls, or other disruptions.

 

-         Disruptions are the worst thing for a meeting.  They take the entire team off task and everyone loses their focus.  Focus on the task at hand, turn off your cell phone, don’t get into a side bar with another group member, and try not to cause any commotion that is going to make people lose their focus. 

 

2)        No silent observers should be present at the meeting.

 

-         Silent observers are unnecessary and are another form of a disruption.  Group members will act differently if there is another person present during the meeting that has nothing to do with the group.  There is simply no need for a silent observer.

 

3)        No killer phrases. Ex: “That idea is not good, no one would use that!”

 

-         Everyone’s input is critical to the success of the team.  When you use killer phrases you demoralize a member who will in the future be less likely want to voice their input.  No one should be afraid to give their input on the topic being discussed.

 

4)        Don’t be late to the meeting.

 

-         Once again this causes a distraction for the group.  If you show up late attention will be diverted towards you rather then towards the member giving their input at the moment you arrive.

 

5)        You shouldn’t go unprepared; know what is going to be discussed at the meeting, read the Agenda.

 

-     By being prepared you are ready to accept the challenge that lies ahead for your group.  You will be able to voice your input in an effective manner that will be respected by the members.  Your input will be well taken by others.

 

6)        You shouldn’t keep your opinions, fact, thoughts, etc. to yourself; voice them that is what a meeting is for.

-         Your input counts just like the input of the other members of the group.  Do not hesitate to say what is on your mind.  Every bit of input is critical to the success of the team.  Stand up and project yourself when it is necessary to do so and don’t curl up into a ball when you have something to say.

 

7)        You shouldn’t avoid conflicts with group members, if you have any try to resolve them.

 

-         Avoiding conflicts creates negative tension that is unnecessary and will spread to the other members of the group.  If you have problems with a member discuss them after the meeting, off to the side, with that individual.

 

8)        You shouldn’t turn away when someone is voicing their opinions, thoughts, facts, etc. because they are just as important as yours.

 

-         By doing so you are not allowing everyone to voice their input.  This can cause tension amongst members.  The individual you turned your back on will have a harder time believing that you want their input.  Everyone’s input is critical to the success of the team.

 

9)        Don’t bring a negative attitude to the meeting because it will eventually affect everyone else that is present.

 

-         Attitude starts with one and spreads too many.  By bringing a negative attitude to the meeting you will spread it to others and this will lead to disaster.  You want to be positive every time you attend a meeting. 

 

10)    You shouldn’t be loud and obnoxious.

 

-   There are times when you can be loud and obnoxious; a meeting is definitely not the time to do so.  When you are in a professional environment act the way you are expected to, professional.  Humor is a good tension reliever but only at times when it is due (Schwartz 2005, Lippincott 1994).

 

 

 

Effective & Successful Group Meetings