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Types of meetings

-      Coffee meeting: a kind of daily morning meeting with colleagues

-      Informal/formal meetings: meetings in which appropriate language and clothing is expected, either very smart or more casual

-      Ad-hoc meeting: a meeting called for a special purpose

-      Face-to-face/One-to-one: meeting of two individuals

-      Video conferences, telephone conferences, skype conferences: meetings to overcome distance

-      Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly meeting, a one-off meeting: determines frequency of the meeting

-      Short or long meetings: meeting differ greatly in their time frame

-      Public, private, external, internal: who does it concern? Meetings which are only for a certain group of people

-      Off-site/on-site –meetings: where do the meetings take place

-      Board meeting/management/staff/team meeting: meeting of the Board of directors/managers/staff/team of a company

-      Kick-off meeting: first meeting before the start of a project

-      Annual performance review/ employee appraisal: meeting in which feedback is given to the employee and professional development is discussed

-      Emergency meeting: quick meeting in order to deal with one very important problem

-      Pre-Bid meeting: meeting hosted by the future customer with various competitors and contractors to ensure all bidders know the details of the future project that is to be contracted

-      Meetings with/ without catering/in a restaurant: A meeting with catering can also be a kind of social event in which business problems are discussed in a more relaxed atmosphere

Reasons for holding a meeting

·      Information distribution (to give information): to share news with your employees "I've brought you all together today to let you know what's been going on about the pending lawsuit. I'd like you to leave here today with as much background as you need to be able to answer questions that may arise from our customers."

·      To get information/start discussion about a certain topic: "We've invited you all here to find out from everyone what we should be aware of that's going on in your division relative to the new product roll-out. We want to know what's happening at all levels in the organization about this, so we can make some adjustments in our plans accordingly."

·      To develop options: "We'd like to spend this afternoon surfacing, formulating, and exploring as many possible ways to deal with the problem we've just uncovered in the new system implementation. We want to make sure we've got everyone's perspectives and all the possible alternatives formulated."

·      Decision making:"We've brought you all together this morning to present to you the three proposed approaches to launching our new product, and get a consensus decision on which one to pursue."

·      Strategic/Operative reasons: decisions need to be made on a strategic or operative level

·      Review/feedback/achievements: to look back at what has happened and evaluate in order to find the right direction for the future

·      Problem –solving: there is a concrete problem and there needs to be a solution to it

·      Introduction: a new person/program/etc needs to be introduced to the company

·      Goals/target-setting: Goals and targets have to be set for the next period

·      Questions: can be asked in order to increase understanding

·      Training of employees

·      Brainstorm, exchange ideas, creativity: in a group the creative exchange and output usually increases

·      Briefing/ debriefing: to brief someone means to give a short summary of the current status, debriefing is to talk about it afterwards

·      Human contact: "There are three agenda items we would like to cover today. And though we could have done this by email, we wanted to have an opportunity to bring the new team together in one place, and get some time to get to know each other between the lines..."

Roles in meetings

The Chair

The Chair organizes and chairs the meeting, which means he is responsible for the running of the meeting.

Before the meeting

He sets the time and place and informs the participants that are required to attend the meeting. He sets up the agenda with all the important topics that need to be discussed and sends it to the participants prior to the meeting so that they can prepare themselves and maybe add some additional topics. The Chair needs to be well prepared as well, which means he has to be well-informed about each topic and maybe even be able to present some of the topics.

During the meeting

The Chair makes sure the time-frame is kept and all topics on the agenda are discussed. He moves on from one point of the agenda to the next. In the beginning the Chair delegates a person to write the minutes, then if necessary he introduces the participants to each other. During the meeting he controls the discussion. He makes sure that everyone can give their opinion and encourages discussion. But he also controls disruptions so that the meeting can run smoothly. At the end of each topic he summarizes what has been said and makes a decision and sets the new goals and action points delegating the action points to certain people.

After the meeting

After the meeting, the Chair has to inform all people that are affected by the decisions that were made in the meeting. He makes sure that everyone gets the minutes of the meeting.

The secretary

He/ She obtains a list of participants and the agenda in order to give this information to the participants. Then he/ she will book a room, check the equipment and maybe arrange some catering prior to the meeting. If one of the participants has to travel from far, he/she will organize the trip and maybe book a hotel. Often, the secretary is the one that writes the minutes during the meeting.

The participants

The participants are supposed to study the agenda before the meeting and inform themselves about the topics that will be discussed. It is also helpful if they form their own opinion and collect some ideas/facts about what they want to contribute, maybe they even want to prepare a presentation.

Communication within a meeting'

Responding positively- Agreement

Here are some useful phrases to show agreement:

·      I completely / totally agree.

·      I’m of exactly the same opinion myself.

·      That’s absolutely right.

·      This proposal has my full support.

Additionally it is important to give reasons why you support this statement.

If you only partly agree with a suggestion, the following phrases might be useful:

·        I think I can agree to the main points in your proposal.

·        You’re probably right.

·        On the whole, I agree with this suggestion.

·        I tend to agree with that.

Responding negatively- disagreement

When you disagree with something say it clearly but don’t be impolite. Be careful as this varies greatly between different cultures

Here’re some useful but still polite phrases.

If you want to show strong disagreement:

·      I’m afraid I couldn’t agree with you at all here.

·      To be honest, I’m afraid I’m totally opposed to what you’ve put forward.

·      I’m sorry, but what you are saying is just not feasible.

·      Frankly speaking, I’m afraid you’re completely mistaken about this.

If you want to show weaker disagreement you can use the following phrases:

·        I’m afraid I can’t entirely share your views on this.

·        You have a point, but we also need to think about….

·        I take you point, but have you considered…?

You should also give reasons why you disagree.

Staying neutral

If you’re abstaining then you can use these sentences:

·        I think I’ll abstain on this question.

·        I’m not at all sure what to think here. I’m abstaining.

·        I am really neutral on this issue.

If you need a little bit more time to think about a suggestion you can say these phrases:

·        Give me a few moments and I’ll come back to this.

·        I need more time to consider these options. Let others say what they think first.

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