LABOR MANAGEMENT - MEETINGS

Meetings should serve to accomplish a specific goal. Before scheduling a meeting, ask yourself if the matter could be handled by phone or by mail. To keep meetings efficient, limit their length. If you don’t complete your agenda within the allotted time, you can schedule another meeting or follow-up by phone or mail. Time limits force people to say what they have to say and hear what they have to hear quickly, with fewer diversions into nonessential details.

The purpose of your key employee meetings is not to complain about problems or assign blame, but to find solutions. Meetings are more productive as a means of exchanging ideas rather than announcing statements of policy. You want a dialogue, not a lecture.

Meetings should be held on a scheduled basis, with ample advance notice, at a time that suits the majority of the participants. Circulate an agenda and inform the participants in advance the topics of discussion. It’s important that meetings have written agendas; those that do not are too easily misdirected.

If you hold them before the day’s work starts, have breakfast served. If at the end of the workday, have a snack brought in. Have a structured agenda prepared in advance. Keep it interesting and try to have everyone present participate instead of it being dominated by one or two people. Foremen or supervisors should schedule meetings with their crews. Give everyone the opportunity to contribute to the company’s welfare.

Common problems involved with meetings include:

Learn to use body language to signal the end of a meeting or appointment. Shut your notebook, pick up your papers, rise and begin moving toward the door, using closing comments like “I’m glad we could meet,” “we got a lot done,” or “I’ll look forward to hearing from you soon.”

NOTE: For other closely related topics, be sure to review the section on Leadership (#20) in this series of articles on Business Management.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter was extracted from my Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we encourage your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. Please respond to Barbara@mikeholt.com.

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