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How to Have Successful Group Meetings
Chapter 5 Leading a Meeting
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Successful Meetings                                                 Chapter 5

Leading the Meeting

 

In order to lead a meeting you must remember to be punctual. There are three ways to be punctual in a group setting. These ways will be discussed later on in this part of the handbook. Not only does leading a meeting need to start on time but leaders need to know how to delegate power or what you might call roles. These roles help take off some of the pressure a leader may feel if there is a lot that needs to be discussed. With this said, you are now reader to learn more about leading a meeting (How to Run Better Business Meetings 1979).

 

Being Punctual is Key

 

3 ways to stay punctual

        Start on time

        Stay on topic

        End on time

 

The first step towards this is to follow an agenda. An agenda displays the starting time, and you should be firm with this time. It is unfair to others to wait for a few stragglers. You would not want to have this behavior become a norm as the group forms. It is a waste of time, and time is a huge issue when it comes to a business atmosphere. Most people do not want to be there in the first place, so if they start on time, they can leave on time (Booher 1999).

 

 

The next step is to stay on topic. Again, stick to the agenda. During meetings, other topics may arise, and that is normal. If the new topic is not absolutely crucial to the topic at hand, drop it. There will be other meetings, and these subjects can be addressed at a later time. If it is taking to long to come up with a decision that people can agree on, you can drop it until the next meeting. This will give members more time to research the topic (Haberman 2002).

 

 

The last step of being punctual is to end on time. People have many important tasks to do at the office. The members need to know that they can rely on you to end the meeting at the time written on the agenda. Other plans, meeting, and actual work may conflict with extending the meeting. So, end on time, and wait until the next meeting to discuss lagging topics. If you need more time, set it up on the next agenda (Corcoran 2005).

 

What Should the Leader do?

 

Assign roles to attendees

        Group Leader

        Recorder

        Peace Keeper

        Summarizer

        Wild Card

 

 

The first item to do when the meeting has started is to address, and introduce the agenda. Even though the members have received the agenda, it needs to be fresh in their mind to help set up what needs to be discussed. This is a great time to appoint some task roles while you have people’s attention (Mina 2002).

 

 

 

The Leader can set up assigned seating to limit the behavior of the attendees. Keep those that have behavior problems closest to you. You can also assign them the meeting tasks that were just mentioned. This will give them something to do other then disrupt the meeting (Lencioni 2004).

 

The leader should make sure all the information that a decision needs is present at the meeting. This includes relevant participates as well as relevant tools and background information. The leader needs to think ahead and anticipate what needs to be available at the meeting to have it run smoothly. For example one may need the fuel logs to be able to come up with an economic purchase quantity for the company’s fuel.

 

The main idea behind a meeting is that two heads are better than one. So it is also the responsibility of the leader to motivate people to participate. One way to do this is to make eye contact. In our culture eye contact is made when people are talking, so if you make eye contact with someone who is not participating, it will most likely evoke them to add something to the discussion. Choosing them to speak next will force them to contribute, which will also get the desired result. A little encouragement will go a long way. Once they have shared an idea don’t shoot them down right away. Remember quality is quantity in brainstorming. It is much easier to tone down a wild idea than it is to build up a simple one. Once you have had many meetings, bashfulness and the anxiety that a meeting once caused, will start to disappear (Stanheart 2001).

 

The leader of a meeting is like a music conductor. He tells people when to start and when to change tunes. You never see a conductor pick up a tuba and play solo. Neither should the leader of a meeting take the show. It is the leader’s job to make sure everyone gets to share. If one person is taking dominance you need to control them so other people get a

 

chance. This situation happens a lot since people want to get out of meetings as fast as possible; one may try to rush it by taking over. One way to stop this as a leader is to tell such a person, “I see your point Terry, but lets hear what Susan has to say about this.” This will turn that person down while not embarrassing them, and still getting the quiet people’s opinions (Ross 2005).

 

 

The leader should check to make sure that the discussion is moving towards the goals on the agenda. If the discussion is moving away from the agenda, it is the leader’s responsibility to either redirect the conversation back to what it should be, or to cut it where it is, having the recorder put it down for the next meeting.

 

A meeting should have a recorder, a person who will keep track of what topics were discussed and what outcomes came from the discussion. This person can also write down what divergent topics arose that can be discussed in the next meeting. Each meeting should also have someone jotting down the ideas that came up on a white board or sketchpad. This helps people follow along, and keep them on track if they missed something. Use this to check that you are sticking to the agenda (Schwartz 2005).

 

 

It is the job of the Peace keeper to make sure that arguments don’t escalate into stressful situations. You also need to check people’s tones; a meeting is not intended to upset people. You need to make sure people feelings, emotions, and ideas are not attacked.

 

Once a topic is discussed and a decision has been rendered, it is the summarizer’s job to go over what decision has been made and make sure that everyone understands what he or she has agreed on. Basically the summarizer clarifier’s what was achieved during the meeting. It is important that everyone sees the same thing and people don’t walk out of a meeting confused on certain subject matters that were discussed. The summarizer will simply restate the conclusions and answers of all that was discussed at the end of the meeting. In addition, the summarizer should distribute the minutes of the meeting with all of the information about what people agreed to do. This way the members know what they must do, and the leader also knows to check and see if it has been implemented.

 

 

 

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Effective & Successful Group Meetings