Effective Meeting Preparation

Effective executives do not need to be leaders at least, not in the way in which being a leader is mentioned these days as a leader of men.  There are two quite obvious examples of that, Harry Truman for instance did not have one ounce of charisma and yet, he was one of the most effective executives ever in history.  Steve Jobs didn’t seem to have a great deal of charisma, was extremely harsh with the people who worked for him, and yet he was highly highly successful.

If you look at all of the most successful entrepreneurs, their personalities differ greatly; some are reserved, some are very open; their values, their strengths, their weakness, their attitudes, their personalities, they all vary greatly.  But they all demonstrate eight very important behaviours.  Seven of these were mentioned by Peter Drucker who I often mention as one of the – what is the best management guru consultant that we have ever had.  And of these seven behaviours which talk about acquiring the knowledge that an executive requires to do his job – one of these behaviours is running productive meetings.

And it’s interesting that Peter Drucker mentioned this behaviour that it’s so important to be effective that one needs to have the competence to run a productive meeting, that he mentions it as one of the seven characteristics that all of these great and impressive entrepreneurs and business leaders have demonstrated.

Now in the Being Professional in English series, we’ve already done three podcasts on meetings; we’ve looked at dealing with the negative, which is podcast 11, where people bring problems to meetings without solutions and how we try to push them towards always thinking of solutions; we’ve looked at agreeing and disagreeing both in terms of the language that needs to be used and also some of the behaviours required to put together a team – and that’s podcast 23, and we’ve also look at how to stay on time and subject during a meeting which is podcast 24.

Today, we’re going to go on to look at some preparation that is required by the meeting leader before a meeting begins so that it can be effective.


Why Do Meetings Have A Bad Reputation?

  • Most Surveys Say That 70% of Meetings Are a Waste of Time
  • No Agendas  = No Preparation
  • No Decisions Made
    • If They Are They Are Not Carried Through
  • Never Starts or Finishes On Time
    • No Planning For the Day
    • Dealt with Podcast 24
  • Invited Without Reason
    • Be Responsible
    • Justify Asking For The Attendee’s Time
  • Other Matters not on Agenda are discussed


Different Meeting, Different Preparation

  • Meeting to prepare a Statement or Press release
    • A draft ready beforehand
    • Someone takes responsibility for giving out the final text
  • Meeting to make an announcement – Organisational Change
    • Confined to announcement and a debate, discussion about it
  • Meeting where only one person reports
    • Nothing but the report is discussed
  • Meeting where several people report – Weekly Staff for example
    • After each report – discussion for clarification only
    • More open discussion then send reports beforehand
  • Meeting to inform a visitor, or executive
    • Executive listens and ask questions + summarise
  • Meeting whose only function is to allowing participants Boss time
  • Better 1 to 1 meetings
  • Do not have these in work time – Dinners, breakfasts


The Follow Up – As Important As the Meeting Itself

  • Follow – up is not the Minutes
  • What is the most important Part of Meetings?
    • Action Points or Decisions
  • So what should be on the Follow-up?
    • Action Points or Decisions
  • Who, What, When
  • Nothing More is Needed.
    • Distributed to All Attendees
    • Distributed to all Those affected by the decision
    • Need to Know, Understand and Maybe Approve it.

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