BUSINESS MEETINGS

Submitted to: Sir. Khalid Mehmood,

Submitted by: Talha Mohammad Aadil Hakim Ali Haris Bin Haroon Waqas Anjum Huzaifa Ahmad Jawad Khillan

FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT SCIENCES

INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY
ISLAMABAD

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................4
Objective..........................................................................................................................................................5 Purpose ...........................................................................................................................................................6 Significance......................................................................................................................................................6

LITERATURE REVIEW .........................................................................................8
Basic Principals of a Meeting.........................................................................................................................9 Effective Meetings ........................................................................................................................................10 Scheduling Meetings ....................................................................................................................................14 Creating a Meeting Agenda.........................................................................................................................18 Chairing a Meeting.......................................................................................................................................18 Taking Minutes.............................................................................................................................................21 Ice Breakers...................................................................................................................................................23 Team Building...............................................................................................................................................25 Corporate Minutes........................................................................................................................................28 How to Make the Most of Business Meetings ............................................................................................30 Preparing for a Business Meeting...............................................................................................................30

CRITICAL ANALYSIS..........................................................................................31 CONCLUSION......................................................................................................45 SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS....................................................46 REFERENCES .....................................................................................................46

ABSTRACT

If communication is the lifeblood of any organization, then meetings are the heart and mind. The place where we communicate our ideas, hash them out, share our passion for better or worse, develop new understandings and new directions. It's where deals can happen or fall apart, where strategies are articulated and debated -- in short -- where we engage with others. That's what it's all about, people meeting with people. A meeting can and should be the most interesting and productive part of a day. And if you've ever been to a great conference or seminar, you already have seen some of the basic principles at work. These can be summarized as: 1) preparation 2) facilitation 3) inspiration

4) results

hence we have made an attempt to explore literature on the business meetings. This has helped us to know how to plan and implement the business meetings to find most out of these activities. The business meetings present an opportunity to network with others to find out what is needed for success in business objectives through adopting best practices and eliminating the hurdles in the way of success.

Introduction
Meetings come in all shapes and sizes. There are the everyday office meetings, board meetings, seminars -- all the way up to major conferences. And meetings

can now be face-to-face, teleconference, videoconference, or online via the Internet. And when is the last time you heard someone say, "Gee, we need to have more meetings." There are more than enough meetings to go around these days, and for a good reason. Meetings are more important than ever. Modern workplaces are built on teams, sharing of ideas, and effective project coordination.

The business meetings present an opportunity to network with others to find out what is needed for success in business objectives through adopting best practices and eliminating the hurdles in the way of success.

If communication is the lifeblood of any organization, then meetings are the heart and mind. The place where we communicate our ideas, hash them out, share our passion for better or worse, develop new understandings and new directions. It's where deals can happen or fall apart, where strategies are articulated and debated -- in short -- where we engage with others. That's what it's all about, people meeting with people.

Objective
The objective of this report is to collect literature on business meetings. Meetings are too often seen as an end unto themselves. We have attended more than our share of meetings where the object was to get to the meeting. Once there, we

dutifully filled the time allotted while producing only a minimum of new ideas, plans and action.

Purpose
The success of meetings is limited only by our understanding of their purpose and our ability to plan and manage them. The main purpose of this effort is to share ideas and express different thoughts regarding business meetings. Using meetings effectively starts with the understanding that meetings are not the destination but a vehicle for reaching strategic objectives or organizational destinations. With this in mind we can move meetings forward.

Thinking of meetings as vehicles, as the means to an end, clarifies objectives and itineraries. It enables us to get in the drivers seat and focus our attention on the results we want to achieve and the means of achieving them. This requires selecting the appropriate type and structure of meeting, picking a competent meeting leader and facilitator, determining the key participants, and identifying critical steps in order to make the best use of peoples' time and energy.

Significance
Many of the business meetings end up with a lot of time wasted, inefficiency, and money down the drain. Worst of all, there's an opportunity cost as highly paid

workers waste their time performing low skill work instead of higher value activities. But didn't we imply that setting up meetings is not such an easy task? True, but it's not rocket science, and rocket scientists shouldn't be wasting their time, and neither should secretaries.

With a clear destination in mind and key waypoints noted, it is possible to map possible routes and determine when a bike, a bus, a plane, chariot or truck is the appropriate vehicle to get you there quickly. With clear objectives, we can determine how each part of the meeting should be structured and managed to achieve the desired results.

This report will give us a complete guidance to lay out the importance of distinct objectives of a meeting, how to make a meeting plan, how to organize a meeting and the clarity in how to get the meeting decisions implemented and the follow up there after.

All of us need solutions to make scheduling meetings more efficient and less of a hassle. Unfortunately, there is not one solution for everyone, and there's no substitute for judgment and common sense.

Literature Review
Survey results published by the Annenberg School of Communications at UCLA and the University of Minnesota's Training & Development Research Center show that executives on average spend 40%-50% of their working hours in business meetings. Further evidence of the pervasiveness of meetings comes from a recent issue of Fast Company magazine, where organizational psychologist Jon Ryburg says he advises corporate clients to provide twice as much meeting space as they did 20 years ago

Studies also point out a discouraging trend: Surveyed professionals agree that as much as 50% of that meeting time is unproductive and that up to 25% of meeting time is spent discussing irrelevant issues. Typically, they complain that meetings are too long, are scheduled without adequate time to prepare and end without any clear result.

Most of us have been to seminars or conferences where we've left feeling inspired and rejuvenated. But how many of us have ever left everyday meetings feeling the same way. Rarely, no doubt. The reason is that good seminars and conferences are organized precisely to engage us. Sadly, most office meetings are not.

Basic Principals of a Meeting
Believe it or not, meetings can and should be the most interesting and productive part of a day. And if you've ever been to a great conference or seminar, you already have seen some of the basic principles at work. These can be summarized as: 1) preparation 2) facilitation 3) inspiration 4) results

Preparation means making sure your meeting has a clear, stated purpose, and an agenda. Participants are chosen carefully, invited in professional way and given sufficient prior information. Preparation also means attention to details including: room bookings, catering, a/v equipment, reminders.

Facilitation means that someone or a team is responsible for guiding the meeting, a plan for the meeting is reflected in the agenda and the facilitator (or chair) keeps things on time and on track.

Inspiration is probably the most overlooked aspect of everyday meetings. All the attention to detail and process can push the opportunity for spontaneity and enthusiasm aside. Build in activities that engage participants, use strategies to generate discussion, or visual aids to grab attention.

A result means that every meeting should be directed toward one or more outcomes. Participants must feel that something has been accomplished, and they must see all of their meetings as part of the bigger strategy to involve them in the future of the organization. Achievements at one meeting should be recapped in the next, and so on.

Effective Meetings
The following are some tips to help you make your next meeting successful, effective and maybe even fun.

Before The Meeting 1. Define the purpose of the meeting. 2. Develop an agenda in cooperation with key participants. See a sample agenda. 3. Distribute the agenda and circulate background material, lengthy documents or articles prior to the meeting so members will be prepared and feel involved and up-to-date. 4. Choose an appropriate meeting time. Set a time limit and stick to it, if possible. Remember, members have other commitments. They will be more likely to attend meetings if you make them productive, predictable and as short as possible. 5. If possible, arrange the room so that members face each other, i.e., a circle or semi-circle. For large groups, try U-shaped rows. 6. Choose a location suitable to your group's size. Small rooms with too many people get stuffy and create tension. A larger room is more comfortable and encourages individual expression. 7. Use visual aids for interest (e.g., posters, diagrams, etc.). Post a large agenda up front to which members can refer. 8. Vary meeting places if possible to accommodate different members. Be sure everyone knows where and when the next meeting will be held.

During The Meeting 1. Greet members and make them feel welcome, even late members when appropriate. 2. If possible, serve light refreshments; they are good icebreakers and make your members feel special and comfortable. 3. Start on time. End on time. 4. Review the agenda and set priorities for the meeting. 5. Stick to the agenda.
6. Encourage group discussion to get all points of view and ideas. You will have better quality decisions as well as highly motivated members; they will feel that attending meetings is worth their while.

7. Encourage feedback. Ideas, activities and commitment to the organization improve when members see their impact on the decision making process. 8. Keep conversation focused on the topic. Feel free to ask for only constructive and non- repetitive comments. Tactfully end discussions when they are getting nowhere or becoming destructive or unproductive. 9. Keep minutes of the meeting for future reference in case a question or problem arises.

10. As a leader, be a role model by listening, showing interest, appreciation and confidence in members. Admit mistakes. 11. Summarize agreements reached and end the meeting on a unifying or positive note. For example, have members volunteer thoughts of things they feel have been good or successful or reiterate the organization's mission. 12. Set a date, time and place for the next meeting. After The Meeting 1. Write up and distribute minutes within 3 or 4 days. Quick action reinforces importance of meeting and reduces errors of memory. 2. Discuss any problems during the meeting with other officers; come up with ways improvements can be made. 3. Follow-up on delegation decisions. See that all members understand and carry-out their responsibilities. 4. Give recognition and appreciation to excellent and timely progress. 5. Put unfinished business on the agenda for the next meeting. 6. Conduct a periodic evaluation of the meetings. Note any areas that can be analyzed and improved for more productive meetings. See a sample meeting evaluation.

And remember, effective meetings will keep them coming back!

Scheduling Meetings
Scheduling meetings is one of the most common tasks in the modern workplace. In earlier days, the time-consuming tasks of scheduling meetings, typing up agendas, and taking minutes was the domain of the office secretary. With the advent of computer technologies and flatter hierarchies, the task of setting up meetings is a chore for all but the highest of executives, and even they get there hand in it from time-to-time. Democracy works great in politics most of the time, but it doesn't work well in the division of labour. So the reality is that many organizations have high-paid staff doing work that used to be done by lower paid staff. And as any good secretary will tell you, what looks easy when they do it doesn't work so easily for the rest of us. So why aren't sensible organizations hiring more secretaries to take up this task. Part of the problem is that all of the other work that secretaries used to do has also been absorbed by the rest of us. So, we type our own letters, try to create professional agendas, and blunder our way through meeting minutes. Computer technologies have given us a false sense that we can do all things well, but each of these tasks require knowledge and skill to do well. Scheduling a meeting really is not as simple as it looks, even with scheduling software. A lot of judgment is involved, and there's a real sense of propriety

required. In bringing any group of people together, there are so many factors to take into account. It could be that there's a certain pecking order, and some people have to work around more important people's schedules. Or, some people can best be contacted by phone, some by e-mail, or some through a third party such as a secretary or administrative assistant. Decisions about where the meeting is held are important as well, and very political. For some meetings, a simple announcement will do. For others, participants will need to be polled for their availability and then confirmed later. The complexity doesn't stop there. Let's look at the kinds of situations that often arise in scheduling meetings -- you'll probably recognize most of them. The following are common problems when attempting to schedule meetings: 1) A date and time is announced, only to discover that some important participants can't attend, and then another date has to be found. 2) Participants are polled about their availability for a meeting, but are given so few choices that no common date can be found. 3) A meeting is confirmed, but then needs to be changed. 4) A meeting location is specified in one message, then changed in another, and those who miss the second message end up at the wrong room. 5) So many messages fly around about a proposed meeting that there's general confusion about when and where a meeting is.

6) Someone tries to use an intranet-based scheduling which is fine for work teams, but can't invite outside participants. 7) A work team decides to use a common scheduling system, posting and updating their schedules on an intranet, only to find that after the initial enthusiasm, people get lazy about updating their schedules, or resent having to show their availability to everyone else -- and eventually less and less time becomes available to meet. 8) Someone goes through all the trouble of scheduling a meeting then finds out the location they were planning on using is already booked. 9 No one sends a reminder about a meeting, and sure enough, several people forget and don't show up. 10) You get invited to a meeting but the organizer forgets to say where it is, how long it will last, or even what it's about! 11) People get so frustrated trying to set up meetings that they just stop doing it, or won't take the responsibility. It's rare to see anyone volunteering gleefully to set-up a meeting these days. First, determine if you should schedule the meeting, or if it should be delegated. If delegated, make sure you give clear instructions. Some of the things you'll want to be clear about up front are: 1. Which participants must be there, and which are optional

2. Is it o.k. for participants to send a designate (someone to go in their place) 3. Whose schedule do you need to work around most, and will others be expected to change their schedules to accommodate 4. Is it more important to find a common time where everyone can meet, or simply a time when most people (including the required attendees) can meet 5. What kind of room or facility is needed and what a/v or computer equipment is required 6. Will the meeting require catering, either coffee and tea or a full lunch?

It's no wonder that when we treat as a simple matter of making a few calls and sending a few messages, things can go awry. What seemed like a simple task becomes a frustrating game of cat and mouse, no-shows, location foul-ups, and general disorganization. Once you've realized that organizing a meeting will take some planning, and you've made some choices about how you're going to proceed, there are several options to help you make things go smoother.

Creating a Meeting Agenda
The meeting agenda is a roadmap for the meeting. It lets participants know where they're headed so they don't get off track. Most importantly, the meeting agenda gives a sense of purpose and direction to the meeting. All agendas should list the following: 1. Meeting start time 2. Meeting end time 3. Meeting location 4. Topic headings 5. Include some topic detail for each heading 6. Indicate the time each topic is expected to last 7. Indicate which meeting participants are expected to be the main topic participants

Chairing a Meeting
Why do meetings fail? Well, there may be reasons such as lack of time, a badly designed agenda or an unsatisfactory venue. However, if the chairman is doing his (or her) job, it should be possible to overcome these difficulties.

Chairing a meeting means ensuring that a meeting achieves its aims. The meeting should have been called for a specific purpose and all discussion at the meeting must be steered to this end. This may sound simple in theory but in practice it is a very demanding task. The skills required include: 1. Impartiality 2. Assertiveness 3. Staying on course 4. Summarizing Impartiality A chairman is like a judge in a court. He should ensure that all participants have an opportunity to express their point of view. It can be difficult to leave your own opinions at home, but if you can’t remain impartial, you shouldn’t have taken the job. Assertiveness Ensuring that everyone gets a hearing will almost certainly involve stopping someone from dominating the proceedings. The more contentious the issue the more likely you are to to require firmness. You don’t need to be rude or dogmatic. Phrases such as “I think we should hear from Ms. Smith on this” or “can we have some comments from the engineering department on this” should be sufficient in most cases. Once you provide this opening, however, you need to ensure that there are no interruptions while the next speaker has their say.

Staying on course How often have you seen an agenda left totally aside? The meeting starts off well but becomes embroiled in a particular topic (perhaps the first item on the agenda) and ends when time runs out. A Chairman must assess the importance of each item on the agenda, and allot time to each topic as required. If one issue begins to dominate the chairman must take control. You might suggest a further meeting to discuss the issue at a later date, or that the main parties concerned could continue the discussion at the end of the meeting. Sometimes it will be necessary to call for a decision and then move on to the next topic. You need to stay alert and make sure that the issue has been given an adequate and impartial hearing within the allotted time.

Summarizing Summarizing can be used to end a topic, to end a discussion, to limit the need for discussion and at the end of a meeting to ensure that everyone has a clear overview of what took place or what action is now required. It is an invaluable skill for a chairman. Summarizing requires active listening. You have to state concisely what was said in an impartial way and end with a clear statement about what is expected to happen next. It takes practice to summarize well, but it is a skill well worth developing.

Many people feel that being a chairman means opening the meeting and stopping rows. There is much more to it than that. Prior to the meeting, a chairman should consult with the secretary regarding the agenda, ensure that all interested parties have been notified, assess the level of interest and the potential for divisiveness for each item, and allot time to each item, based on decisions required and number of people attending. During the meeting, the chairman must focus on the decisions required of the meeting, ensure that all participants are accorded adequate time, decide when to end debate on each topic, use appropriate questions to elucidate information or re-direct discussion, listen carefully to all contributions, and clearly summarize proceedings with an emphasis on decisions taken and future plans. The above are all key ingredients for a fruitful meeting. A tactful but assertive chairman will facilitate an effective meeting, and that’s what everyone wants.

Taking Minutes
These days, many of us find ourselves in the position of taking minutes without a clue of how to go about it. The following is a guide for making this task easier:

Ensure that all of the essential elements are noted, such as type of meeting, name of the organization, date and time, venue, name of the

chair or facilitator, main topics and the time of adjournment. For formal and corporate meetings include approval of previous minutes, and all resolutions.

Prepare an outline based on the agenda ahead of time, and leave plenty of white space for notes. By having the topics already written down, you can jump right on to a new topic without pause.

Prepare a list of expected attendees and check off the names as people enter the room. Or, you can pass around an attendance sheet for everyone to sign as the meeting starts.

To be sure about who said what, make a map of the seating arrangement, and make sure to ask for introductions of unfamiliar people.

Don't make the mistake of recording every single comment. Concentrate on getting the gist of the discussion and taking enough notes to summarize it later. Think in terms of issues discussed, major points raised and decisions taken.

Use whatever recording method is comfortable for you, a notepad, a laptop computer, a tape recorder, a steno pad, or shorthand. It might be a good idea to make sound recordings of important meetings as a backup to your notes.

If you are an active participant in the meeting, be prepared! Study the issues to be discussed and have your questions ready ahead of time. If you have to concentrate on grasping the issues while you are making your notes, they won't make any sense to you later.

Don't wait too long to type up the minutes, especially while your memory is fresh. Be sure to have the minutes approved by the chair or facilitator before distributing them to the attendees.

Don't be intimidated by the prospect of taking minutes. Concise and coherent minutes are the mark of a professional. The very process of recording minutes can give you a deeper understanding of the issues faced by your organization along with ability to focus on what's important.

Ice Breakers
Ice breakers are a great way to begin a meeting. They help to relax participants, and that makes them more receptive to listening and contributing. An ice breaker can also serve to build a team atmosphere and to generate enthusiasm. Ice breakers can be fun, amusing, humorous, thoughtful, surprising or just plain silly. The days of one-liner jokes as ice breakers are gone, and there are many new creative ideas. The most popular are games that have participants reveal something personal about themselves, or which encourage participants to get to know each other personally. The idea is that more than just having fun, the ice breaker will truly help to create group cohesion based on trust and understanding. One of the tricks of an icebreaker is timing. It should not be too long otherwise the serious work of the meeting will not be given enough time. It should not be so short that participants feel it was a perfunctory exercise. Timing also depends on the size of the group, the overall length of the event, and the purpose of the

event. An all-day retreat might warrant a half hour ice breaker, but a one-hour meeting may merit only a minute or two. The following are some ideas compiled by category, and gathered from a variety of sources: 1. Games 2. Activities 3. Simple Lead-Ins Games • Have participants say 3 things about themselves - 2 true and 1 lie, others guess what the lie is • Have everyone write on a piece of paper their answers to these questions: What is your favorite food, animal, TV show, hobby, and color? Sign your name. Don't let anyone else see the answers. The leader then reads the answers to the whole group, and members try to guess whom each set of answers belongs to. Award one point for each right guess. The person with the most points wins a prize. • Give each person is given a list of 5 to 10 traits that they must find in common with the people around them. Sample items could be: "Find someone that was born in the same month", "..Someone who lives in your state", or "..drives the same model of car". A prize is awarded to the participants with the most in common. Activities

Write the words "agree," "disagree," "strongly agree" and "strongly disagree" on separate pieces of paper and post them on four different walls of the room. Then make a statement such as "our organization can change the world" and have everybody move to the part of the room that matches their opinion. Have the group discuss why they chose their response.

With everyone in a circle, have someone come up with a short story that they whisper to the person next to them, and so on. Have the last person recount the story out loud.

Simple Lead-Ins • Ask participants to state one or two "burning questions" they hope will be answered in this session. • Have participants describe one strategy/resource they have used successfully (relevant to the topic of the meeting/training). • Have them state their personal definition of the topic (eg., in a marketing meeting, "Participation Marketing means..."). • Be creative and come up with your own ice breakers.

Team Building
Help wanted: professional, flexible, dynamic, well-organized, accurate, selfstarter, independent thinker, upbeat, energetic, multi-tasked, experienced team player.

A lot to ask of any individual, especially one who has not played on any team since softball in the third grade! Many businesses request a team player without knowing what that actually means. Being on a team means being interdependent in a relationship, being able to trust others. But first, one must be independent. If you cannot function well on your own, an office team can turn into an outlet for all your personality flaws. An independent person knows what makes him or her tick, what's important in their lives. These are called values or ethics. These values can then be brought to any team and become part of the contributing process. People who can't be managed or trust others will have a hard time being effective on any team. A team needs a reason to get together; a project or specific plan that requires results. Of course, it also requires that the owner/manager/supervisor is willing to support the team's success. Remember, teams are not magic bullets. So, let's get started. How do you put a team together? Here are a few suggestions to follow: • First, the owner/manager of the business must be aware of how teams work. The team is accountable to each other, not the owner. Second, someone has to lead. Third, it requires guidelines. And fourth, the team needs values of its own. Commitment, contribution, communication and cooperation are the four values or cornerstones of the foundation of any capable team or business. • If one is not committed to the plan and the team, nothing will work. Until there is commitment there is nothing. Being committed means being charged with a

responsibility for a particular result. In this time of quicker and faster, not many take the time to do whatever it takes to get the job done. What being on a team truly implies is giving up your ideals for something greater than yourself. • Next comes contribution, the differences that make a team exciting. Not everyone on the team needs to be alike. I look at a team as a microcosm of the world. This is your community if you were sliced off the end of the earth. You must trust and be accountable to each other, not the owner. • The owner or manager may lead the team, but allows the individuals on the team to blossom and grow. No throwing cold water over anything new or different! Teams can be about change and I think that is their greatest strength. When various types of people are on a team, the abundance of creativity can be a windfall. • Now, how to communicate all these ideas and values. At the beginning of any meeting, everyone should be heard briefly, without interruption. This is an opportunity to settle in, to connect with each other before the real work starts. This process continues with everyone offering information about themselves, including that sense of humor that is sometimes missing in the workplace. • Teams can be enjoyable and fun, but no one will know that unless team members relax and lighten up. • Cooperation means to pool all the resources and ideas of each individual. It also means to put aside your personal goals for the objective of the team. The significance of cooperation is to work together in relationship and that

requires patience. Remember, everyone on the team is an equal, there are no bosses. • A word of caution. Not everyone is a team player. People who are loners need just that, to work alone. As long as they can create results on their own, let them. People on a team have to want to be there. No one wants a person on a team that does not want to be there; they just stall any progress. So, set your plan in motion and have fun.

Corporate Minutes
It is vital that all corporations keep adequate documentation in the form of minutes of shareholder and director meetings. In many jurisdictions, the absence of proper records may be a liability for the shareholders of a corporation, particularly in cases where the shareholders are directors themselves, or where they have close relationships to the corporate directors. Most jurisdictions require corporations to hold annual shareholder's meetings to elect directors. Also, the bylaws of most corporations also require their board of directors to have an annual meeting. Although the board may delegate day-today operation of the business, the following actions normally require approval by the board of directors: • • Electing officers of the corporation Adopting business policies and plans,

• • •

Designating committees and allocating authority to them Issuing and selling stock Approving the sale, lease, conveyance, exchange, transfer, or other disposition of all or substantially all corporate property and assets

• •

Approving mergers and reorganizations Approving the adoption of pension, profit-sharing, other employee benefit plans and stock-option plans

• •

Approving corporate borrowing and loans Entering into joint ventures.

The board generally should also approve the following types of transactions: • • Designating corporate bank accounts and authorized signatories Changing an officer's compensation (unless this has been expressly delegated) • • Entering into a major lease of premises Entering into any other major contractual agreement or venture

This list does not include all requirements, and some corporate actions require shareholder requirements. Of course, small corporations in particular often have informal "meetings" where these matters are decided. However, it is important to subsequently prepare approval as well. Also, some jurisdictions have different

meeting minutes or unanimous written consents (signed by all the directors in lieu of a meeting) that approve the actions. If your corporation has not kept adequate records of shareholder and board meetings, these records with can and should be reconstructed with the aid of a legal professional. You should obtain proper legal consultation if you think that your corporate records might not be getting the attention they should be.

How to Make the Most of Business Meetings

Business meetings range from gatherings of small groups of people to large conferences with hundreds, or even thousands, in attendance. It is those mega meetings that many people find stressful. Here are pointers to help you make the most of business meetings and relieve some of the stress you may feel when you find you have to attend one.

Preparing for a Business Meeting
1. Meet Other Attendees in Advance: Get to know as many people as possible before you attend the conference. 2. Look Your Best: When you look good, your confidence goes up. Make sure your hair and nails are well groomed.

3. Dress Appropriately: Find out what type of dress is more suitable for the occasion.

Critical Analysis
The most important step to overcoming fears about a lack of attendance at an event or to increase the RSVP list is to realize that people really do enjoy attending seminars and other events. By attending business meetings, the participant gets a chance to learn new information and interact with peers and leaders in their field. The most successful meetings create a warm, friendly environment for everyone – and that is why they enjoy attending. Once hosts understand that people enjoy attending events, it is important to create a program that is worth attending. The agenda should be focused on a single theme and not overwhelm attendees. For example, the following sample half day seminar schedule considers the meeting attendees' needs:
• • • • • •

8:00 a.m. Arrivals and Breakfast 8:45 a.m. Welcome Message 9:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker 10:00 a.m. Break 10:15 a.m. Panel Discussion 11:30 a.m. Closing Remarks

Despite the best agenda, event attendees have preferences as to when they want to attend such programs and when they cannot. Consider the following when scheduling dates and times for your event:
• • • • • • •

Attendees prefer morning schedules for seminars. Attendees prefer appreciation events immediately after work. Tuesdays and Thursdays are popular meeting days. Avoid holding meetings on Fridays if possible. Avoid scheduling meetings on holidays and the eve of holidays. Be sensitive to attendee travel requirements for the event. Equally important: establish a reputation for starting on time and finishing

on time. Identify a unique and convenient location. Okay, so most business meetings are held in hotels and that is not so unique. But not all hotels are the same, and hotels are not the only available venues. The main point here is to select a location where your guests want to go. After all, they are basically detouring from their routine, and want to enjoy the event. Consider the following factors:
• • •

Select a venue that is near the majority of attendees. Select a venue where attendees would enjoy themselves. Select a venue that is experienced at hosting similar events. Compile an appropriate guest list.

Successful meetings have a specific topic and target audience for that message. It is valuable to compile a guest list that includes appropriate attendees, even if they are ranked in order of importance. Too often, hosts will compile a master list of prospective guests and open the meeting to the masses. This will work if you are trying to fill seats based on the numbers game.

However, the business meeting shouldn't be viewed as a direct mail effort with 13% RSVP rates. I prefer coaching clients to generate specific lists of targeted attendees, folks who they really want to attend: rates of 50% or better. A final thought about attendees: try to invite individuals of similar rank and experience to the meeting.

Invite, invite, invite. One of the keys to achieving attendance to your meeting is by inviting people early, and continue reminding them about the event even if they have confirmed attendance. It's important to generate excitement around the event. Traditional printed invitations are appropriate, and it is now generally acceptable to rely on technology to convey your invitation. Try this approach:
• • •

Mention the event to guests before sending invites. Send a save the date early in the planning process (paper or electronic). Send a detailed invitation, including agenda highlights (paper or electronic).

Forward the detailed invitation again with a personalized note (electronic).

Formally call guests and extend a personal invite to the event. More about phone invitations. A physical invitation – whether printed or electronic – is nice, but it shouldn't be viewed as a substitute for a personally extended invitation (unless you are planning a large symposium or convention with 500 or more attendees). This is the step that makes most hosts cringe … they do not want to dial for attendees. It is helpful to share this responsibility. The guest list of an event is often compiled from contact lists that are maintained by a variety of individuals, and those individuals with the closest relationships to the invitees should extend a direct invitation to their own guests. Establish a reputation for delivering excellent programs. Everyone has attended good conferences and bad conferences, and the same holds true for seminars and other appreciation events. Lucky for planners, people more often enjoy the meetings they attend. The key here is to help your client establish a reputation for delivering excellent business programs. Simple as it may seem, if someone enjoyed attending your last series of events, he or she is more likely to attend future programs.

Send follow up communications and thank attendees. Because people attend meetings to gather new information, many attendees appreciate receiving additional handouts and materials that may have been referenced by presenters and other folks within your organization. It is an

excellent opportunity to share that information with follow thank you messages to those who attended the event. The thank you note and follow up communications is something that many organizations often overlook, but noticed by guests.

Meeting Management People spend so much time in meetings that turning meeting time into sustained results is a priority for successful organizations. Actions that make meetings successful require management before, during, and after the meeting.

If you neglect any one of these meeting management opportunities, your meetings will not bear the fruit you desire from the time you invest in meeting.

Take these twelve meeting management actions to guide meeting attendees to achieve expected, positive, and constructive outcomes.

Before the Meeting to Ensure Effective Meetings Actions before the meeting establish the groundwork for accomplishing meeting results. You can do all of the needed follow-up, but without an effective meeting plan to start, your results will disappoint you.

Plan the Meeting Effective meetings that produce results, begin with meeting planning. First, identify whether other employees are needed to help you plan the meeting. Then, decide what you hope to accomplish by holding the meeting. Establish doable goals for your meeting. The goals you set will establish the framework for an effective meeting plan. As Stephen Covey says in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, "Begin with the end in mind." Your meeting purpose will determine the meeting focus, the meeting agenda, and the meeting participants.

Make Sure You Need a Meeting Once you’ve developed your meeting plan, ensure that a meeting is the appropriate vehicle for accomplishing the set goals. To schedule and hold a meeting is expensive when you account for the time of the people attending. So, make efforts to determine that a meeting is the best opportunity to solve the problem, improve the process, or make an ongoing plan.

You may find that you can accomplish the meeting goals with an email discussion or by distributing and requesting information through the company newsletter. Make sure the meeting is needed and not just convenient for you – you’ll get better results from attendees.

Ensure Appropriate Participation at the Meeting If a meeting is the appropriate means to accomplish your goals, check with the participants who must attend for the meeting to succeed. The needed attendees must be available to attend the meeting. Postpone the meeting rather than holding a meeting without critical staff members. If a delegate attends in the place of a crucial decision maker, make sure the designated staff member has the authority to make decisions – or postpone the meeting.

Distribute and Review Pre-work Prior to the Meeting How many meetings have you attended that started out with the meeting facilitator passing out a ream of handouts or projecting a Microsoft PowerPoint slide for discussion? Frustrating? You bet. The meeting becomes a group readin, hardly productive for goal accomplishment. You can make meetings most productive and ensure results by providing necessary pre-work in advance of the actual meeting. Providing pre-work, charts, graphs, and reading material 48 hours before a meeting affects meeting success. The more preparation time you allot, the better prepared people will be for your meeting.

Documentation that will help you achieve the meeting goals can include reports; data and charts such as competitive information, sales month-to-date, and production plans; Microsoft PowerPoint slides that illustrate key discussion points; and minutes, notes and follow-up from earlier or related meetings and projects. Pre-work distributed in a timely manner, with the serious expectation that attendees will read the pre-work before the meeting, helps ensure meeting success.

Types of Meetings

Managing meetings effectively is a core skill every manager should develop. Although there's no mystery to what makes a meeting productive, it can take practice and attention to detail to become an effective leader of meetings. It all starts with knowing when to call a meeting, and why. How do you know it's time to call a meeting? What type of meeting is it? What's the purpose of the meeting? Here are some typical situations when a meeting may be called for.

You're managing a project. Projects tend to require meetings at various stages: at the beginning, as the project plan is coming together, and at regular intervals while the work is being done. Toward the end of the project, depending on its size, daily meetings could be necessary.

You're managing people. Many bosses call weekly staff meetings in addition to weekly one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. These standing meetings provide a chance to review the work accomplished in the previous week and look ahead to what will be accomplished in the coming week. Weekly one-on-one meetings also give the chance to provide feedback outside the performance review process.

You're managing a client. Many types of companies, especially professional services firms, make presentations to clients - sales presentations, kickoff meetings, interim status meetings, and final presentations. Ongoing relationships also typically involve periodic meetings.

Email is getting complicated. When an email conversation gets increasingly complex, it can be time to call a meeting so that the conversation can take place in spoken words - which can be quicker than a series of carefully crafted email responses. A conference call or an inperson meeting may be necessary.

Problems are arising. If a project is getting off course, interpersonal conflicts are escalating, or any other emergency occurs, it's time to call a meeting.

Groups are great at some tasks, like weighing alternatives and generating ideas. But sometimes a meeting is not the best or most efficient way to get something done. Some types of work are best done in subcommittees - even subcommittees of one - then presented to the larger group for review and approval. An example is the group asked to provide comments and suggested changes to a document. It is said that a committee can write the Declaration of Independence, provided they appoint a subcommittee with Thomas Jefferson as chair.

The purpose of the meeting should help determine the appropriate format. If it's to get clarification on something, a quick question at the water cooler or a visit to someone's office may take the place of a meeting. The length and formality of the meeting will vary depending on how many people are invited, how much notice is given, the size of the company (larger companies often have more formal meeting protocols than smaller ones), and who's leading the meeting. The basic types of meetings are as follows. • Standing meeting. A regularly scheduled appointment, such as a weekly one-on-one with a boss or a department; or a project meeting taking place at intervals until the project is over. Since these meetings recur, their format and agenda become relatively well established. Although it's important to hold these meetings at routine intervals for convenience and consistency, at times they can be rescheduled.

Topical meeting. A gathering called to discuss one subject, such as a work issue or a task related to a project.

Presentation. A highly structured meeting where one or more people speak and a moderator leads the proceedings. The purpose is usually to inform. Attendees may have an opportunity to ask questions, but typically their participation is limited.

Conference. A highly structured, moderated meeting, like a presentation, where various participants contribute following a fixed agenda.

Emergency meeting. A meeting called to address a crisis, whether internal or external. Such meetings are often arranged with very little notice, but attendance is mandatory. If the emergency meeting conflicts with another appointment, the emergency meeting typically takes precedence.

Seminar. A structured meeting with an educational purpose. Seminars are usually led by people with expertise in the subject matter.

Conference calls and videoconferences Conference calls and videoconferences are similar to in-person meetings, but the differences in media suggest some changes in the way these meetings are managed. Here are some tips on managing technology-enabled conferences. • • Set an agenda in advance. Choose a time that works for all participants, factoring in time zones.

• •

Confirm attendee list and make sure all handouts have arrived. If the call is incoming, be ready when the phone rings. If you're cutting it close, delegate someone to pick up.

If the call is outgoing, dial in one or two minutes before the conference is scheduled to begin.

If you're initiating, learn how to use the conferencing system ahead of time.

• • • • • • • • •

Identify yourself by name even if your system does it automatically. Make sure you can see and hear everyone (videoconferences). Greet each person by name. Don't leave out the small talk. Repeat names during the call (especially teleconferences). If you're a silent participant, resist the urge to talk. Let one person speak at a time, so that no one's words get cut off. Stick to your role: are you leading? facilitating? lurking? If a party becomes disconnected from a call facilitated by a teleconferencing system, that person should dial back in unobtrusively.

If parties are disconnected from a three-way call, the person who initiated the call should reconnect the person.

End on time. As in all meetings, it's important to stick to the agenda and manage time effectively.

The Three Most Important Secret of Successful Meeting While effective meetings are essential to any organization and to getting work done, most meetings leave us still looking for a decision, tired and in need of a chiropractor. A good meeting, like a football team's huddle, should bring people together, facilitate decision making, assist people in taking responsibility, energize the participants, and contribute to building team effort within the organization.

Successful meetings are ones where attention is paid to three areas; content, design and process. Selection of content is crucial. All too often meetings are called to dicuss issues which would be better resolved with a couple of phone calls while at the same time core issues remain unmentioned. The key is to focus meetings around key issues, the ones that motivate employees and to let the meeting participants identify the priority of items to be addressed. Secondly, the design of the meeting can hinder or support the decision making, problem solving or the informational task at hand. In designing attention needs to be given to idea generation methods, decision processes, agenda, time frames, problem-solving steps, etc. Third, and most often ignored, is making sure the individual and group needs of the participants are met. Are people participating, included, feel that there is

room for their ideas? Are dysfunctional behaviors openly dealt with, is there positive energy in the group, are people committed to the task at hand and enthused about the way the group is working to complete the task? Common Mistakes: • • • Trying to facilitate a meeting and be a participating at the same time Discussion of multiple ideas at once Lack of agreement on how decisions will be made

Conclusion Following factors can be considered as the drawbacks in our business meetings;  Not much focus is interpreted upon the issues.
    

Wrong/inappropriate people are invited. Too many meetings as a rule. Unprepared attendees. No agenda. No agreement/ follow-up on action items.

Suggestions and Recommendations “A business is a success when its meeting is a success” , says Hans Landa. For a proper business meetings; and to achieve subsequent success; we would like to suggest;  The agenda of the meeting should be clarified.  The delivery of the speech should be concise and précised.  The attendees should be well prepared and attentive during the meeting.Only concerned people must be invited {preferably}.  The meetings should be managed with in a sufficient budget.  The information generated whilst meeting should be managed properly.

References www.wikipedia.com http://www.scribd.com/ http://esl.about.com/od/businessreading/a/d_meeting.htm

http://www.bloomberg.com/?b=0&Intro=intro3 http://www.businessweek.com/

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