Using the right tools to manage a meeting makes it highly productive.
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Every meeting uses resources, including time. If meetings are not managed properly, they lead to wastage of time, and may also cause misunderstandings and errors. To plan and manage meetings in the best possible way, you may answer the questions below.
What is the agenda of the meeting?
The agenda is the purpose of the meeting. Why is the meeting being conducted? Is it for planning an upcoming event? Is it for reviewing performance? Based on your answer, you may develop an agenda for the meeting. An agenda may include a list of items that must be discussed during the meeting to reach a decision that will fulfill the main agenda of the meeting. Each item that needs to be discussed in the meeting must have a time limit so that no time is wasted in unnecessary discussions and the duration of the meeting stays within limits.
When does the meeting start and end?
Well before the meeting, an executive assistant needs to inform those who will be attending the meeting about the duration and time of the meeting. If very important matters are to be discussed and the meeting may be longer than expected, then it is best to write ‘approximate’ with the duration to indicate flexibility. Something like, ‘The meeting will begin at 11 a.m. sharp and will continue for approximately one and a half hours’. If, on the other hand, basic issues of lesser importance will be discussed in the meeting and the participants would not like to extend the meeting, then you may simply quote the duration of the meeting.
Usually, meetings should not be longer than one and a half hours. It keeps the participants attentive. Longer meetings usually tire the participants. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep a short five to ten minutes break for meetings that run for more than an hour.
Even if some participants are not on time, the meeting must start on time. A meeting must never be stalled and topics discussed must never be repeated for the participants who came late.
Has the minute keeper been informed?
The minute keeper needs to be ready to keep minutes of the meeting. It helps if the minute keeper is aware of the essentials of the meeting, such as the topics to be discussed, the length of the meeting, the participants, etc. before the meeting.
At its basic level, the minutes from a meeting include:
- The important decisions that took place in a meeting
- The kind of meeting held
- The participants that attended the meeting
- The date and time of the meeting
- What each participant discussed
- The duration of the meeting
Is everything that will be needed available in the meeting room?
A meeting room must have certain basic things, such as water or coffee for the participants, blank papers, pens, proper lighting, and a comfortable seating arrangement. A meeting may also use a microphone, projector, or laptops. An executive assistant needs to ensure that everything is ready for the meeting before the participants enter the meeting room.
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