MANY OF US spend a significant proportion of our working week in meetings. Good meetings get things done, they move projects on, assist in achieving individual, team and organizational objectives and can be an excellent way of facilitating communication. Bad meetings are a waste of time and resources that can leave participants feeling demotivated and frustrated. Getting the most out of attending meetings is a key skill for everyone in the workplace. As a line manager you need to work with your team members to enable them to benefit from attending meetings and to demonstrate the value their attendance brings to others at the meeting.
The best meetings have a specific aim or purpose with clearly set objectives. They start and finish on time. They allow for debate, facilitate discussion and encourage creativity. At the end of a meeting decisions should be made and actions agreed.
Attending meetings gives participants numerous opportunities to develop a wide range of skills. Having good communication skills is essential if your staff are to get the most out of meetings. If they have been asked to attend a meeting it is usually because it is believed they can contribute something to achieving the purpose of the meeting. When speaking in a meeting ensure your team members aim to be clear and concise. They should not be speaking just for the sake of it or deviate from the point in hand. Make it clear to them that meetings are not the place to rehash old arguments or to try and point score off other colleagues or teams.
If your staff member is at the meeting to present a proposal or introduce a new project then you should encourage them to prepare in the same way they would for any other presentation. Ask them to agree with the Chair in advance how long they will have for their presentation and how long is to be allocated for discussion. They should find out who will be attending the meeting and aim to discover as much as they can about them in advance. This may be their one opportunity to influence those people who will ensure the success of their project.