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Lesson 11 - Business Meetings

28.4.2020, , Izvor: Verlag Dashöfer

Lesson 11 – Business Meetings

Introduction

Statistics say that on every given day there are about 17 million meetings held. Also over 1/3 of managers‘ time is spent in meetings but still executives rate meetings as their biggest time waster.

Very often we have to participate on business meetings with colleagues, clients or members of cooperative team. In open discussions we need to present and clarify our opinions and points of view, persuade others to agree with us or understand others‘ stances. Sometimes, we may be caught in more demanding situations such as chairing business meeting or participating on meetings with people from different countries or from very important positions.

It is said that most meetings are ineffective for one of the following reasons:

  • - the meeting lacks an agenda or goal
  • - it lasts too long
  • - it strays from subject

All these downfalls are closely connected to communication skills. But outcome of meetings conditions the degree of our career success, coping in stressful business situations and – last but not least - the way we feel in demanding social interaction. So, let us have some insight into this issue.

1.1 Objectives of the Lesson

  • - to have the closer look on the topics of business meetings, appropriate behaviour before and during meetings
  • - to practice usage of appropriate language and to learn new vocabulary connected with chairing meetings, participating on, preparing for and reporting from meetings
  • - to foster and deepen the knowledge of using reported speech
  • - to foster new and already known vocabulary and phrases

Reading

2.1 Types of meetings

Business meetings can be split into many groups depending on category we are taking into consideration. Easiest and most comprehensible is to understand difference between information and action meetings.

Information Meeting

  • - Disseminating/gathering information
  • - Self-awareness or conscious-raising
  • - Learning (topics or skills)

Action Meetings

  • - Creative thinking/generating ideas/brainstorming
  • - Analysis, goal setting, problem solving, decision-making
  • - Accomplishing tasks

Key differences in types of meetings:

Elements Information Meeting
(Sharing)
 
Action Meeting
(Problem-solving, decision-making, planning, etc.)
 
Number of attendees  Any number  Small size (12 or fewer)  
Who should attend  Those who need to know.  Those responsible and those who can contribute  
Communication Process  One-way from leader to participants with opportunities for questions.  Interactive discussion among all attending.  
Meeting room  Participants facing speaker  Participants facing each other  
Most effective style of leadership  Authoritative  Participative  
Emphasis should be on  Content  Interaction and problem solving  
Key to success  Planning and preparation of information presented.  Creating a climate that supports open, free expression.  

Exercise 1:

Leader roles are different in both meeting types. Review key differences between information and action meetings and try to find out what leader roles are appropriate for chairing either one of them.

Leader‘s Roles:

A:  B:  
Tell/Present  Present objective(s)  
Sell  Get group to participate  
Direct  Stimulate discussion  
Decide  Listen  
Delegate  Ask questions  
Solve problems  Coach  
Set goals  Build consensus  
Use authority  Empower others to get things done  
Create safety  Help  

Informative Meeting –

Action Meeting –

Speaking

The first consideration when planning a meeting is whether or not one is required.  Holding a meeting too often is a fore drawn conclusion when it should be a carefully considered decision.

3.1 Objectives/Purpose

Whether to hold a meeting should start with the objectives.  

  • - What is the end result you expect to achieve through a meeting?  
  • - Is a meeting the best way to reach this objective?

When objectives are clearly stated, you can determine the best way to achieve them.  It may turn out that a meeting is appropriate.  Or, that a memorandum, email, posting, phone calls may be a better means of disseminating information.

3.2 Who should attend?

In determining who should attend the meeting should be taken into consideration

2/3 rule – each participant should be interested in, or have input in at least 2/3 of the meeting.

3.3 Agenda

Meetings are not the goal but the means, which should be used wisely for reaching strategic objectives or organizational destinations. Every meeting should have an agenda.  The agenda should be guided by the needs of the participants. What do they need to know to effectively participate in the meeting?

Options for building agendas

  • - Meeting leader (chairman) designs agenda
  • - Agenda written with input from
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