MLR’s Training Director, Margot McCleary, discusses three main areas for having efficient and effective business meetings, looking at how to prepare for a meeting if you are either the chairperson or the attendee, how to keep meetings in control during the event and how to ensure to get the most out of your meetings at the end.
More and more organisations are looking to bring training back in house – it’s potentially a major “money saver” when finance is tight and budgets are trimmed back. If this is a move your own organisation is considering, you’ll want to be sure your internal trainers have all the skills and confidence to do a great job!
MLR have recently appeared as voluntary guest speakers at a Motivational Development Day for the South East Region of the Networking Women in the Fire Service (NWFS)*. This was hosted at The Fire Fighters Charity in Littlehampton. The day consisted of four inspirational, highly practical and participative workshops, focusing on real-life application of motivational techniques in the work place.
This is the most frequent request of learners on Presentation Skills courses and Trainer Training courses – and on plenty of other interpersonal skills programmes as well. Sometimes people call it “presence” or “self assurance”. Basically, it’s “when I stand up in front of others, can you teach me how to feel and how to project confidence?”
The purpose of a meeting will always be to arrive at some mutual conclusion which can be most efficiently achieved by discussing, debating and deciding the outcome together. Otherwise, why have a meeting?
It follows then, that whoever is leading the discussion, debate and decision-making has a responsibility for ensuring fair and open coverage of everyone’s views and all available information. This means the leader must certainly behave impartially, whatever his/her personal opinions are on the subject.
Not always easy. And it can be tempting for a senior, influential Chair to allow their own views (consciously or unconsciously) to dominate. In some situations, you might genuinely believe this is the “right” thing to do. How do I fairly chair a balanced discussion when I already have a strong preconceived commitment to a definite outcome?
A meeting is more like a racing yacht than a cruise ship. Every crew member has a critical part to play, and there are no passengers
Do you find yourself spending a lot of time in meetings? Do you want to make all your meetings tight, timely and cost effective? If the answer to either of these is ‘yes’, then follow the tips below!
1. Get together a useful agenda
- State the start and finish time of the meeting
- Write a sentence for each item stating the intended outcome of the discussion, e.g. Cost of Sales: following Nick’s presentation of the third quarter’s figures, we will agree plans and actions to reduce cost of sales by 5% in Q4
- Allocate and publish timeslot for each agenda item
- Avoid churning out a “standard” agenda, and ban “a.o.b.”
- Issue the agenda (if you are not the chair, ask for it) 3-5 days before the meeting, along with any other documents you want people to study in advance
“Managing Time Effectively” is one of our most popular programmes. In only a single day, you can learn and practise techniques for streamlining work for yourself and others, for making every minute count, for stripping out unnecessary activities and cutting down the time you spend on low priority tasks.
Managing time poorly can be a major cause of stress, and many organisations choose to combine our “Managing Time Effectively” day with a second day on “Managing Stress Effectively” – the two go hand in hand!
If your training finances are squeezed, and you want to be sure you are making the best use of the budget you have, investing in either or both of these one day programmes can give your people invaluable self-management skills, and make an immediate positive impact on your bottom line.
An article from the Huffington Post (19th April 2013) suggests that “Feminine Values are the Operating Systems of the 21st century”. At MLR, this got us thinking – do men and women really have different management styles, or is this a myth?
In a review of the book “The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future” (John Gerzema and Michael d’Antonio), the articles asks whether traditional macho approaches to management (dominant, strong arrogant, ambitious) are outdated, and no longer effective in the modern business world. In other words “The Apprentice” may be entertaining but would not be a realistic model for today’s young managers.
Whatever the content of the argument, the way it’s put across – the style – can be influential too. Try this mini quiz:-