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  • Monene Murray

Conducting Effective Meetings



Meetings are a big part of our business life and on some days, we spend quite a lot of time in meetings with other people. One way of saving time in your business day is to have effective meetings.

Meetings are similar to small plays. As in a play, there are three phases to a meeting: before the meeting, the meeting itself, and after the meeting.

Before the meeting

When the director prepares for a play, he or she uses the script to see what type of play it is, which actors are required and what the set should look like. The script also specifies how long the play is and how the play will end. The director also decides how long it will take the actors to practise the lines of the play and how long the set will take to build, before finalising the date of the first performance. Similar to the director of a play, the meeting organiser needs to prepare for the meeting by asking the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the meeting? Is it to communicate something; are there specific decisions required to be made or is input or commitment on a design or an implementation plan required?

  • Which discussion points should be on the agenda, and in which order should they be to reach the desired outcome of the meeting?

  • Who should attend? What is their contribution to the meeting?

  • What needs to sent out before the meeting to prepare the meeting attendees? What is the notice that the attendees will require to attend the meeting?

  • What is the best time for the meeting and how much time is needed?

  • Where should the meeting be held? Make sure that the attendees will be comfortable and that the meeting will not be disrupted by noise or interruptions.

During the meeting

The evening of the performance requires all the preparations to be complete. The stage is set, and all the actors know their lines and cues. During the performance they are prompted by certain cues, making sure they follow the script and use the correct props. Similar to the actual performance of a play, the meeting chairperson can run the meeting in the following way:

  • Set the stage by giving background and explaining the purpose of the meeting.

  • Explain how the meeting will be run and reconfirm the intended outcome of the meeting.

  • When going through the agenda points, give cues to the meeting attendees, ensuring active participation at the right time.

  • Close the meeting by summarising major discussion points, actions or decisions taken during the meeting.

  • Explaining the steps that will follow after the meeting.

After the meeting

After the play, the audience usually discusses how they experienced the play, or a play critic might evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly of the play.The meeting organiser can do the following after the meeting:

  • Send out the formal record of the meeting, listing the major discussion points, actions or decisions taken during the meeting.

  • Do honest self-assessment on what worked well in the meeting and what can be improved in future meetings

  • As it is with plays, no meeting is the same. The above guidelines can help you to reflect on how you prepare, run and wrap up your meetings to ensure that they meet the intended outcome, saving you time in the long run.

Should you want to discuss any of these reflections, contact Monene at monene@engrow.co.za.