MANAGING MEETINGS--BEING PREPARED MAKES A DIFFERENCE: You can schedule all the meetings you want to, and if you are not prepared to take charge then you're wasting your time. The time you invest planning a meeting is time well spent. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can enjoy the fruit of a productive meeting. Before you schedule a meeting, determine its purpose and necessity. Document specifically what you expect to accomplish during the meeting (including goals and objectives). A clearly written plan allows you to focus solely on the issues you need to address. Next, determine whether this purpose can be more efficiently achieved by some other means, such as a phone call, a written memo, or an informal conversation.
MANAGING MEETINGS--AGENDA: At least one week before a meeting, develop the agenda and send it to expected participants. The agenda should clearly indicate: 1. the meeting's starting and ending time, 2. location of the meeting, 3. items (goals) to be covered and desired outcomes (objectives), 4. items listed in priority order, 5. time planned and scheduled for each item, 6. preparation expected of participants, and 7. the person responsible for presenting each item.
SETTING YOUR AGENDA: People usually plan an agenda backwards, placing the most important item last and the minor items first. However, you should plan the agenda the opposite way, by placing the most important item on the agenda first and the least important items last. This way, if you run out of time, you will have covered the crucial topics.
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CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.