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How to Run an Effective Meeting


How to Deal with Disruptive Members ... A. Jay, 'How to Run a Meeting,' Harvard Business Review, March-April 1976, pp. 43-57. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to Run an Effective Meeting

How to Run an Effective Meeting
Barry L. Shoop, Ph.D. IEEE Region 1 Director Elect
IEEE Region 1 Summer Meeting August 15,
2003 Schenectady, New York
Preliminary Thoughts
  • Who likes a meeting
  • Without a clearly defined agenda
  • That seems to drag-on forever
  • That rambles from topic-to-topic
  • That ends without any apparent result?
  • These types of meetings are
  • Frustrating
  • A waste of one of the most valuable resources of
    any organization time.

  • Meeting Management A Leadership
  • Why Effective Meetings?
  • Elements of an Effective Meeting
  • Types of Meetings
  • The Meeting
  • Before the Meeting
  • Agenda
  • Group Dynamics
  • Personality Types
  • During the Meeting
  • Parliamentary Procedures
  • Meeting Room Arrangements
  • Roles Chair, Secretary, Members in General
  • How to Deal with Disruptive Members
  • After the Meeting
  • Additional Thoughts

Meeting Management A Leadership Responsibility
Many people are promoted, elevated, or elected
into leadership positions without receiving any
formal training or education on how to run an
effective meeting.
Why Effective Meetings?
  • Time a critical resource
  • Opportunity Costs
  • For-profit environment, example a one-hour
    meeting with 2 managers and 4 engineers
  • manager 100.00/hour 200.00
  • engineers 60.00/hour 240.00
  • Total 440.00
  • Not-for-profit or professional society
  • volunteers do not want their time wasted
  • ineffective meetings cause discontent

  • Characteristics of negative meetings
  • 83 drift from the subject
  • 77 poor preparation
  • 74 questionable effectiveness
  • 68 lack of listening
  • 62 verbose participants
  • 60 length
  • 51 lack of participation

From Achieving Effective Meetings Not Easy
But Possible, Bradford D. Smart in a survey of
635 executives.
Effective Meetings
  • What people are looking for in effective
  • 88 participation
  • 66 define the meetings purpose
  • 62 address each item on the agenda
  • 59 assign follow-up action
  • 47 record discussion
  • 46 invite essential personnel
  • 36 publish an agenda

From GM Consultants, Pittsburgh, PA 1993
Elements of an Effective Meeting
  • Effective meetings dont just happen
  • Require deliberate planning
  • Must be conducted in an effective and efficient
  • Responsibility of leader

Types of Meetings
  • Formal or Informal
  • With agenda, rules of procedure, minutes or
  • Casual and relaxed - structure but nothing
  • Planning
  • To prepare or evaluate a plan
  • To seek information
  • Reporting
  • Progress to date
  • Providing information or status reporting

Types of Meetings
  • Administrative
  • Regular Staff Meetings
  • Monthly Executive Committee Meetings
  • Decision
  • Brainstorming
  • Combinations

Before the Meeting
  • Define the purpose of the meeting.
  • Identify the participants.
  • Every invitee should have a role.
  • Identify a recorder or secretary.
  • Prepare an agenda in advance of the meeting.
  • Communicate the intent of each agenda item using
    labels such as (A) Action,
  • (I) Information, (V) Vote.
  • Identify estimate of time allocated to the agenda

Before the Meeting, contd
  • Prepare or identify background information.
  • Assign responsibilities for agenda items and
    communicate to those responsible.
  • Publish the agenda and identify background
    information to be reviewed.
  • Plan for breaks lunch, coffee, etc.

Before the Meeting, contd
  • Think through the conduct of the meeting
  • - Use a trusted member of your staff or deputy.
  • Consider logistics
  • Room layout, seating, distractions, etc.
  • Support items projector, white board, pens,

The Bell Shaped Agenda
Purpose of the Bell Shaped Agenda is to
structure events around the groups
energy and attention. The first few items
help the meeting participants to work as a
group on easy items before they tackle more
difficult items.
  • Item 1 Welcome
  • Item 2 Minutes
  • Item 3 Announcements
  • non-controversial
  • short
  • example upcoming events
  • Item 4 Easy Item
  • More than one item may be included in this
    section, but should not be controversial

The Bell Shaped Agenda, contd
  • Item 5 Hardest Item
  • Why in the middle?
  • Attendance late comers have arrived and
    early-leavers have not left.
  • Attention focused on meeting by this time, not
    yet concerned with next appointment.
  • Item 6 For Discussion Only
  • Will often be presented as Item 5 Hardest Item
    at subsequent meeting for vote or decision.

The Bell Shaped Agenda, contd
  • Item 7 Easiest Item
  • End of this meeting is the beginning of next
  • End on positive note of agreement and
  • Good time for member recognition.

The Agenda
Group Dynamics
  • Attempt to identify understand interpersonal
    dynamics of the group.
  • If you will lead this group over an extended
    period, consider Myers- Briggs Type Indicator
    (MBTI) instrument.
  • Not definitive but allows you to better
    understand the members of your meeting.
  • Most scientists and engineers are introverts
    prefer to sit-back, listen and think-through
    their response.
  • Extroverts tend to develop their opinions and
    responses by talking out-loud.
  • 126 item Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • Instrument publisher, Consulting Psychologists
    Press (CPP, Inc.)

Personality Types
  • Based on the well-known research of Carl Jung,
    Katharine C. Briggs, and Isabel Briggs Myers
  • Theory of Personality Types contends that
  • An individual is either primarily Extraverted or
  • An individual is either primarily Sensing or
  • An individual is either primarily Thinking or
  • An individual is either primarily Judging or
  • The possible combinations of the basic
    preferences form 16 different Personality Types.
  • Learning about other people's Personality Types
    help us understand the most effective way to
    communicate with them, and how they function best.

MBTI Type Descriptions
  • Theory is that every individual has a primary
    mode of operation within four categories
  • 1. Our flow of energy
  • 2. How we take in information
  • 3. How we prefer to make decisions
  • 4. The basic day-to-day lifestyle that we prefer
  • Within each of these categories, we "prefer" to
    be either
  • 1. Extraverted or Introverted
  • 2. Sensing or iNtuitive
  • 3. Thinking or Feeling
  • 4. Judging or Perceiving

MBTI Type Descriptions
  • Flow of Energy how we receive the essential part
    of our stimulation.
  • Receive it from within ourselves (Introverted)
  • Receive external sources (Extraverted)
  • Take in Information how we deal with taking in
    absorbing information.
  • Trust five senses (Sensing) to take in
  • Rely on our instincts (iNtuitive)

MBTI Type Descriptions, contd
  • Make Decisions decide things based on
  • logic and objective consideration (Thinking)
  • personal, subjective value systems (Feeling)
  • Day-to-day Basis
  • Organized and purposeful. More comfortable with
    scheduled, structured environments (Judging),
  • Flexible and diverse, and more comfortable with
    open, casual environments (Perceiving)

During the Meeting
  • Arrive early
  • Arrange the room if necessary
  • Know how to control the lighting and temperature
    in the room.
  • Distribute handouts.
  • Begin on time.
  • Introduce members if not familiar introduce
  • Establish ground rules, if necessary.
  • Run the meeting.

During the Meeting, contd
  • Control interruptions ask that cell phones and
    pagers be turned-off.
  • Identify and record results.
  • Assign responsibilities for follow-up Action
  • End on time.
  • Thank participants for their input and reinforce
    the importance of outcomes on the organization.

Meeting Room
  • Space matters!
  • Members must be able to easily see one another.
  • Room should be comfortable temperature.
  • Adequate space for planners, notebooks, or
  • People should be able to hear the discussion
  • If it is a large group, the meetings
    facilitator should consider standing.

Meeting Room Arrangements
  • Theater Style
  • Leader has great power by position.
  • Participation and interruption by audience is
  • U-Shaped Style
  • Equality of membership.
  • No doubt of who the leader is.
  • Good visibility for visual aids.
  • Circle Style
  • Democratic equality is stressed.
  • Great visibility by participants.
  • Obvious body language.
  • Excellent participation.

Member Roles The Chair
  • Prepare for the meeting.
  • Appoint secretary/minute taker if there is not a
  • Conduct and control the meeting.
  • watch timing or assign someone to this
  • ensure all have an equal opportunity to speak
  • adjudicate as and when necessary
  • effect compromise on occasion

The Chair, contd
  • Close each item
  • Ensure action is clear
  • By whom and by when
  • Check that the minutes are produced accurately
    and in timely manner

Member Roles The Secretary
  • Ensure agenda and relevant papers are
    distributed in time with date, time and place of
  • Prepare and book the meeting space.
  • Have background papers and information for the
  • Carry a copy of (1) the constitution, (2)
    rules of procedure, (3) previous minutes.
  • Record names of attendees and apologies for
    absence - check quorum.

The Secretary, contd
  • Take notes of what is said and decided
  • Minimum necessary
  • mixture of mnemonics and full transcript
  • amount of detail depends on nature and purpose
    of meeting
  • must be enough to enable accurate minutes
  • Essential to have
  • gist of discussions
  • exact words of proposals
  • names of those proposing and seconding
  • names of those responsible for future actions
  • Write the minutes - preferably as soon as

Members in General
  • People often react to other people - not to their
  • Chair must stress that effectiveness disregard
    for personal or departmental allegiances.
  • Self perception - some see themselves as elder
    statesman, joker, voice of reason.

Members in General Supportive
Members in General Disruptive
Based on HC Wedgewood's Fewer Camels, More
Horses Where Committees Go Wrong. Personnel, Vol
44, No 4, July-Aug 1967, pp62-87. Quoted in
Pearce, Figgens Golen. Principles of
Communication. New York, John Wiley Sons, 1984,
pp. 383-384.
Member Stereotypes
Based on Sadler and Tucker. Common Ground. South
Melbourne, Macmillan, 1981. pg. 82.
How to Deal with Disruptive Members
  • Make sure that all meeting participants
    understand their responsibilities.
  • All members were invited to the meeting for a
  • All members should feel free to contribute
  • Members who are silent
  • Begin meetings by engaging every member of the
  • Bill, havent you done this in your work? What
    was your experience?"
  • "Janet, youve been rather quiet to this point,
    do you have an opinion or an idea?"
  • Consider breaking larger group into smaller
    groups to develop input

How to Deal with Disruptive Members
  • Members who are vocally dominant
  • Redirect discussion to other members
  • "We all recognize your expertise in this area,
    but lets hear from some others in case some new
    ideas emerge.
  • "John has made his opinion clear does anyone
    else have something they would like to add?"
  • Members who are negative
  • Probe the negativity to validate concerns
  • Redirect discussion to other members
  • If behavior persists, consider speaking off-line
    or excluding them from future meetings
  • Lets not shoot down this idea prematurely
    lets give it some time for evaluation."

After the Meeting
  • Publish the minutes promptly.
  • Identify responsibilities for action items.
  • Assess the meeting.

Parliamentary Procedures
  • Roberts Rules of Order
  • Parliamentary guide for running meetings.
  • First Edition February 1876
  • Guiding principle, by General Henry Martyn
  • All shall be heard, but the majority shall
  • For details, see Meetings and Parliamentary
    Procedures Simplified, by Irving Engelson.

Additional Thoughts
  • Dont Read to the Group
  • Place more emphasis on processing information,
    than on giving information
  • A meeting is a place to discuss an issue to
    assure agreement or full understanding.
  • Everyone contributes to a meetings success.
  • Everyone must do their part.
  • When possible, make sure the right people are at
    the meeting.
  • If the material covered is not relevant to some
    people, arrange to have them excused from that
    portion of the meeting.
  • Make sure all meeting participants understand
    their responsibilities

Additional Thoughts, contd
  • Balance participation
  • Meetings will have people who are silent, vocally
    dominant, or negative.
  • The facilitator/chairperson as well as members of
    the group can redirect this unproductive behavior
  • Allow time for process and group development
  • Checking off agenda items in a rapid-fire process
    is not always productive. It may move the meeting
    along more quickly, but may leave you wondering
    what happened? when its over.

Final Thoughts
  • Praise! Praise! Praise!
  • Praise people twice as much as you criticize.
  • Never let any good deed or action go unheralded
    in the group.
  • Say thank you publicly at every meeting.
  • Recognize the value of peoples contributions at
    the beginning or within the meeting.
  • Plan. Plan. Plan.
  • Meeting design is the Number 1 mechanism for
    effective meetings.
  • For each agenda item, make sure the group is
    clear about the goals, processes, and functions.
  • Never, Never, Never attempt to compose, draft, or
    edit a report or document in committee!

  • The techniques described in this presentation can
    be applied to any type of meeting you encounter.
  • Consider compiling your own list of successful
    techniques based on specific meetings.
  • Effective meetings are the result of deliberate

H. C. Wedgewood, Fewer Camels, More Horses
Where Committees Go Wrong, Personnel, Vol. 44,
No. 4, July-Aug 1967. A. Jay, How to Run a
Meeting, Harvard Business Review, March-April
1976, pp. 43-57. Sadler and Tucker, Common
Ground, South Melbourne, Macmillan,
1981. Pearce, Figgens Golen, Principles of
Communication, New York, John Wiley Sons,
1984. B. L. Shoop, How to run an Effective
Meeting, Focal Point, Optical Society of
America, October 1996. Reprinted in IEEE
CrossTalk, Vol. XXXIV, No. 8, January 1998.