Thursday, 19 July 2007

Six Business Meeting Rules To Always Follow

Meetings are often the bane of business, often considered a necessary evil between wasting time and sharing ideas. Having meetings once a month simply because it has been a month since the last meeting does not create a cooperative environment and lends credence to the theory that meetings are time away from work for which you get paid. There are, however ways of having a meeting be productive, and there are six simple rules to follow for any business meeting to make them successful and not seem like a waste of time.

Rule 1: The meeting needs to start and end on time. Having an agenda outlining detailing each segment of the meeting and stick to time limits set for each segment. Appoint someone to act as a timekeeper and the meeting leader has to work with them, when the time is up for that segment.

Rule 2: Make sure everyone understands that some of the information that will be discussed in your meeting is confidential and must remain in the room. Violating the confidentiality can be dangerous in a business sense, and in the case where sensitive personnel issues may be discussed, having information leaks can cause problems within the ranks.

Rules 3: Avoid the use of jargon or buzz words. Keep it in English and in terms that everyone can understand. Using company lingo may sound cool, but newer people attending the meeting may not be up on the new language. They may be fearful of being laughed at by not asking for definitions and will miss out on parts of the meeting. It also ends the possibility of misunderstanding.

Rule 4: Encourage participation of all attendees. Every person at the meeting has something to offer, they just may not be aware of it. If the meeting has gone on a few hours and one or more people have not spoken up, ask them their opinion on certain topics. Ask open ended questions to draw responses from them.

Rule 5: Keep the discussion on topic and focused. In larger gatherings it is easy to lose control of a meeting and have topics veer to other topics, often losing the direction of the meeting. Staying focused on the topic at hand will also help with Rule 1.

Rule 6: Only one person should be talking at a time. This is a show of respect for the person expressing their thoughts. Persons who constantly interrupt should be asked to hold their comments until the end when they will be free to present concurring or opposing views.

Once the meeting has ended, if major decisions have been made that may affect the operations of the business, attendees should be reminded that the meeting was the forum for dissention and disagreement. However, once a consensus has been reached, when the meeting doors open, the group must present a united front to carry the same message to everyone else.

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