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Business Meetings




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Three or more people discussing business together constitute a meeting. Many such meetings are informal, being held to consider a particular problem or opportunity, while others are formal, being held on a regular basis with a specific purpose and agenda.

 

Informal meeting

These may be prearranged or impromptu. There are seven rules for organising and running a prearranged meeting.

1. The person calling the meeting (the 'convenor') should be the most senior of those involved. If the participants are of the same seniority, the meeting should be called by the person with the most direct and urgent interest in the issue to be discussed. A junior should not call meetings involving more senior people — that should be done by his boss.

2. The convenor should decide the venue and timing but should always consult the other attendees to make sure it is convenient for them (bearing in mind the urgency of the issue involved).

3. The convenor must say what is the purpose of the meeting, how long it is expected to last and whether or not any preparation is needed.

4. All those attending should arrive promptly. It is not only bad manners to be late but also wastes other people's time and money. Arriving late doesn't prove anything (for example, that you are an important and busy person) except that you are badly organised!

5. The convenor should make the meeting as short and effective as possible. If it's been called to issue instructions or to communicate a decision, the convenor does most of the talking. If it's to discuss a problem or opportunity, everyone should be encouraged to participate, with the convenor making it clear at the end what he has decided to do.

6. Someone at the meeting should be asked to record decisions and major action points. Notes should be prepared as quickly as possible (within 48 hours), be approved in draft by the convenor if important issues are involved, and circulated to those attending.

7. After the meeting, communication with all those likely to be affected by its outcome is essential. This might be done by circulation of the meeting notes, by e-mail or orally if that is agreed at the meeting.

Impromptu meetings are often called by a boss with several of his staff or by a senior manager with his colleagues in other disciplines. Lack of consideration in calling impromptu meetings is a major cause of dissatisfaction in many organizations ─ particularly where tough work targets are set − and many bosses are criticized for putting their own convenience before the efficiency of their staff.



Impromptu meetings are generally the least formal of any meetings. They may be used to unwind at the end of a busy day or to brainstorm new ideas. If they are focused on a particular issue they are likely to be dealing with topics familiar to the participants and can be simple and action-centred.

 


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