Leadership Skills (4ofX) - Effective Holding of Business Meetings

25 Jan

Business meetings and communication consume the greater part of manager’s time. And strangely enough many meetings are ineffective.  When asked what can go wrong in business meetings a group of USA managers gave 1305 examples (in 1987).  15 of them accounted for 85% of all the problems. Let’s look at them:

15 obstacles to business meetings effectiveness
  • No goals or agenda
  • Background information not provided
  • Poor or inadequate preparationleadership skills, business meeting, effective business meeting
  • Starting late
  • Getting off the subject
  • Disorganized
  • Ineffective meeting leadership
  • Irrelevant information discussed
  • Interruptions by not-participants or mobile telephones
  • Time wasted
  • Ineffective at making decisions
  • Redundant, digressive discussions
  • Too long
  • Individuals dominate the discussion
  • No follow-up action or published results
Do they sound familiar to you?  Do you face similar problems when fighting for effective holding of your business meetings?  Now you may agree easier to our decision to rank effective holding of business meetings among the leadership skills that every leader must learn .
Not surprisingly, 23 years later nothing has changed. Most managers continue to be highly unprofessional when holding meetings.  By underestimating meeting holding importance they feed up their own inefficiency and spread it among the team.
Let’s mark the appropriate elements of the effective business meeting:
1.   Planning the business meeting
2.   Conducting the business meeting
3.   Meeting follow up
1.Planning the business meeting.
1.1. Identify meeting goals.
1.2. Provide necessary background information
1.3. Outline possible member contribution
1.4. Prepare agenda
business meeting, manager, effective business meeting 
In general a productive business meeting should be between 60 and 120 minutes. In the scheme above 90 minutes long business meeting is used as an example.
1.4.1. review the agenda and set the rules
1.4.2. easy topics
1.4.3. medium difficulty topics
1.4.4. the hardest topic
1.4.5. the easiest topic
1.4.6. summary
1.5. Answer the following questions:
  • Is membership well chosen? (unproductive members are to be excluded).
  • Are the necessary skills and knowledge represented?
  • Is the size of the group appropriate?
  • Is meeting time convenient for most members? (for groups 5+ people you cannot find best time, so concentrate on the 20% of them that will provide 80% of the meeting results (as per The Pereto Rule)).
  • Is enough time allotted to each topic from the agenda?
  • Is the agenda circulated?
  • Is it distributed on time, so that each member to have the time to get prepared for the meeting?
  • Does the agenda list the goals for each topic?
  • Does it contain background information as necessary?
  • Does it contain meeting date, time, duration, attendees, location?
  • Is the location adequate?
  • Are the meeting room size and equipment appropriate?
  • Is the freedom from distractions secured? (nobody and nothing should disturb the meeting).
2. Conducting the business meeting.
business meeting, effective business meeting, leadership skills   2.1. Preview the meeting.
   2.2. Remind time constrains.
   2.3. Follow the agenda.
   2.4. Encourage the participation.
   2.5. Summarize the meeting’s accomplishments and future actions.
   2.6. Thank the attendees.
3. Meeting follow up.
3.1. Send attendees list of the taken decisions, person in charge for each decision and deadline.
3.2. Continue follow up till the last task is done.
On each of the items above a separate post can be written. I hope that the material reveals the paths to be followed for executing more effective business meetings.
The material is an extract from a full day seminar at The Academy for Leaders and I couldn’t find a way to condense it into two-page format .



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