Conduct of Meeting: Agenda8th February 2020
Communicating in a meeting is an essential part of effective communication. Some meetings are not conducted in an efficient manner due to which they fail in accomplishing the sole objective of the meeting. It may be because:
- They do not involve participation of all, or
- They may be too long, or
- They may be unsystematic, or
- They may lack a clear agenda, or
- They may not begin on the planned time, or
- They may end without any conclusion.
As a result, such meetings lead to agitation and sheer wastage of time. In order to ensure effectiveness of a meeting, it must be planned, systematic and rational.
The process of running an effective meeting includes the following steps:
- Plan the meeting
Plan the meeting in advance. With the plan clear in mind, the objective of the meeting can be well accomplished. Planning includes-
- Outline the objective of the meeting.
- Decide the attendees/participants of the meeting.
- Plan an agenda for the meeting, i.e., the topics to be discussed, the sequence in which they will be discussed, in how much detail they will be discussed, the time given to each agenda topic, etc.
- Plan the starting time of the meeting, plan for the breaks, and also plan the approximate time by which the meeting should end.
- Announce/declare the meeting
After planning the meeting and before actually beginning the meeting, the participants should be delivered a message/memorandum to make them aware and ready for the topics to be discussed in the meeting. Give each participant responsibility for the agenda item. Issue the agenda.
- Conduct the meeting
Be punctual. Try and arrive before time for the meeting. The meeting should begin on time. State the objective of the meeting in the very beginning so that all are clear with the purpose of the meeting. Give a brief introduction of the members/participants so that all are familiar. Circulate notes and handouts. Involve all attendees during the discussion. Encourage new ideas from the participants. Respect their ideas. Ask for a feedback. Make sure that there are no distractions during the meeting (such as ringing cell phones, or participants fiddling with pen, or gossiping, etc.). Give a quick review of the issues discussed in the meeting. Make sure that all the issues are discussed within the time frame. If time does not permit discussion of all issues, ask the participants if they are comfortable in discussing those issues in next meeting. Fix and decide upon the time for the next meeting.
- Evaluate the meeting
Assess the meeting after it is conducted. Distribute an evaluation form to all participants which provides you a feedback on the effectiveness of the meeting. To get credible and honest feedback, do not give a space for name of the attendee on the form. Ask questions such as whether the objectives of the meetings were well met, did it involve participation of all, which part of the meeting did the attendee found most constructive and which part of meeting was not significant.
An agenda is a list of meeting activities in the order in which they are to be taken up, beginning with the call to order and ending with adjournment. It usually includes one or more specific items of business to be acted upon. It may, but is not required to, include specific times for one or more activities. An agenda may also be called a docket, schedule, or calendar. It may also contain a listing of an order of business.
The items of agenda should cover all that is necessary to be considered at that time. Meetings take time and effort to arrange; hence the agenda has to be well thought out.
The items may be devised from:
(a) Previous minutes
(b) Suggestions received
(c) Actions and events since last meeting
(d) Correspondence of the organisation
The agenda contains routine items as well as special ones.
Here are some guidelines for listing the items:
- Apologies from absent members (need not be written previously)
- Condolences if any (may or may not be written previously)
- Reading and approval of minutes of the last meet
- Matters arising out of previous meet’s minutes (this need not always be mentioned)
- Urgent and non-controversial items
- Matters requiring closer discussion and debates
- Any new, on-the-spot items with the approval of the chairman
- Date of the next meet
The last item in a meeting is a vote of thanks to the chairman but this need to be mentioned. The items are mentioned briefly or elaborately according to the practice or need.
The style used is as follows:
(i) Appointment of auditors
(ii) Induction of new members
(iii) Reading of minutes
(iv) Felicitating so-and-so on the award of Padmashri to him/her
(i) To read and approve the minutes of the previous meet
(ii) To consider the advertisement draft
(iii) To organize a blood donation camp
(iv) To appoint sub-committees for sports competition and music competition
The agenda should be manageable within the time at disposal. Some clubs have a time limit for the duration of a meeting (e.g. 90 minutes), which automatically dictates the scope of discussion.