CONDUCTING A MEETING

Although irritating to many who attend them, meetings are a fact of life in business, industry, and government. According to Houston translation services workers and interpreters, meetings have such a bad reputation because most are poorly planned and run. Meetings can be effective if the person in charge sets an agenda – then sticks to it by not allowing lengthy digressions or arguments.

Meetings are costly. James McIntyre, President of Washington D.C. translation services corporation, estimates that a 2-hour meeting, attended by ten managers, costs a company roughly $6,000. Obviously, meetings need to be run effectively.

Meetings are usually called for two broad purposes: l. to convey or exchange information or 2. to make decisions. Generally, informational meetings run smoothly because there’s less cause for discussion or disagreement. Decision-making meetings, on the other hand, often end without any clear resolution. Too often, such meetings end in frustration because the leader fails to take charge.

Taking charge doesn’t mean imposing one’s views on the group or disallowing opposing views. On the contrary, running a meeting effectively means guiding the discussion so it remains centered on the issue.

The following guidelines will help you run effective meetings:

Set an agenda so participants know the meeting’s purpose beforehand. Members will then have time to formulate their views on the topics. Except for emergency meetings, participants should receive the agenda at least 2 days before the meeting.

Set an agenda so participants know the meeting’s purpose beforehand. Members will then have time to formulate their views on the topics. Except for emergency meetings, participants should receive the agenda at least 2 days before the meeting.

  1. Don’t include too many items on the agenda. Leave time for discussion of each item.
  2. Begin the meeting on schedule. Stragglers soon will learn to be prompt.
  3. State the purpose of the issue to be discussed.
  4. Give all members a chance to speak. Don’t allow one or two people to monopolize the discussion.
  5. Don’t allow lengthy or irrelevant discussions. Politely bring members back to the issue.
  6. Work toward a consensus by summarizing points of agreement.
  7. Ask probing questions to keep the discussion moving.
  8. Push for a resolution of the issue.
  9. Summarize major points before calling for a vote.
  10. Observe, guide, and listen. Don’t lecture or dictate.
  11. End the meeting on schedule. This is not a hard-and-fast rule. If you feel that an issue is about to be resolved, continue but if no resolution is in sight, end the meeting

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