HOW TO HOLD MEETINGS
Every company holds meetings every day. Meetings are important in company operations such as communication, setting clear goals and solving problems. Meetings are good for identifying, recognizing, and solving problems. However, you will probably attend some meetings that will be a waste of time.
Successful supervisors are seldom guilty of calling unnecessary meetings. If you hold a meeting, have a good reason for it to justify taking busy people from their work. You must also be sure to conduct it properly to get the most from it.
The reason for unproductive meetings is that we simply do not know how to conduct effective meetings. Here are ways to improve meeting efficiency.
Invite attendees properly
The people who should be invited to the meeting are a matter for the person calling the meeting to decide. Obvious choices are those who will be asked to contribute to reaching the meeting’s objective. People who will be affected by decisions made in the meeting are the ones who you want to be present.
Have information to facilitate the discussion
If you leading the meeting, have as much information as you can gather to facilitate the discussion. In order to enable the participants, come prepared and notify them in advance of the meeting time. You can help matters by including a brief explanation of what the meeting will cover in your notification.
The first matter you should handle at the meeting is to state the reason for getting together and what you hope to accomplish. Resist anyone’s attempt to confuse the objectives or to broaden them, even though this may introduce complications since the participants will be looking out for their best interests. People at meetings usually try to be constructive but their motives may lead them to obstruct as well as introduce side issues.
Stay on the subject
In order to conduct an efficient meeting, you must see that the discussion stays on the subject. Do this by immediately interjecting a question or statement relative to it whenever someone starts to stray. Another control you should exert is to exclude matters of implementation from the discussion until what has to be done has been decided.
Problems often encountered in a meeting are those concerning when and what decisions should be made. Members usually have several courses of action available to them, any one of which probably would lead to the desired objective. In such situations, it is better to select one and go ahead with it rather than continue the discussion in hopes of finding a perfect answer.
Keep moving along
Try to keep the meeting moving along so that you don’t lose the interest of the members and to ensure that you cover all itinerary items. One hour or less is an ideal time for the meeting to last. It’s better to have a second meeting than to meet for longer than two hours.
When to close a meeting is another matter for you to decide. If you have an agenda to work from, you simply adjourn after you have handled the last item.
It’s not so easy without an agenda — people are inclined to go on until the leader announces that the meeting is over. You can signify the end by saying, “That’s all I have to discuss today. Thanks for coming.”
J.D. McHenry is the president of Global Jet Services. He has been involved in numerous aviation maintenance and flight operation programs for more than 31 years. His background includes aircraft manufacturer, corporate flight operations, FAR 91 & 135 operations, aircraft management, repair stations and fixed-base operation. He holds an A&P, IA and doctorate of business management. For more information, visit www.GlobalJetServices.com.