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!
Fire Service Training
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?
“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.
Each of us has a preferred influencing style – whether we want to persuade someone else, or whether we are on the receiving end whilst the other person makes their case to us.
Whatever the content of the argument, the way it’s put across – the style – can be influential too. Try this mini quiz:-
We all “sell” all the time – it’s just, we usually only think of it as “selling” if money changes hands. Come to think of it, anyone who wants to influence someone else is in the business of selling for example, a leader in a corporate environment who wants to motivate others in a meeting to a certain course of action, a manager in the Fire & Rescue Service who needs to make a case to the boss, or an individual in the customer service “front line” who needs to placate or persuade the client.
So what are the core skill sets? Well the good news is that there are basically only two: putting your case together in a clear, organised and reasoned way, then expressing yourself persuasively so as to convince the other person (or people) that it’s a good idea. Of course, there are many techniques that go into each of these two basic skill sets, but these are the main considerations.
Fire service training
We were fascinated to read in The Times (Friday 22nd February 2013) that Avon Fire & Rescue Service was using Dominic, a 200lb pig, to train its fire fighters in how to handle escaped or trapped animals.
We are preferred suppliers of Management and Leadership Training to the South East Region of the Fire & Rescue Service. And while we have never used a pig in our training programmes, we understand the value of using a live “role-player” in training exercises.
It’s always a wonderful idea to use mock up situations and role-play as tools for learning. Training in practical skills – whether that’s rescuing animals or handling a disciplinary interview – should always simulate the ‘real-life’ situation as closely as possible.