conducting meetings effectively

The art of conducting effective meetings

Radhakrishnan Pillai shares Chanakya's tips on how to conduct effective meetings.

Meetings, meetings, and more meetings! As you climb higher on the corporate ladder, and your business grows, meetings will become an inevitable part of your life.

Meetings are like a double sword—it can either waste your time or can help you scale up your business. It all depends upon how effective you are in conducting meetings.

Chanakya gives us some tips and suggestions on this issue: “He should declare without loss of time what is in the king’s interest.” (5.4.11)

The following are also some tips that can help you at meetings:

Have an agenda

Most meetings end up as a big waste of time because there is no clear agenda. The purpose of the meeting has to be clear. As given above, the best meetings are the ones that take into consideration the vision of the company, or what is of interest to the seniors.

Preparing an agenda gives a sense of direction for the meeting. If you are the one who is the organiser, make it a point that the agenda is clearly communicated to others. Also, see to it that the participants are told in advance about the day, time and venue of the meeting to have maximum attendance and least confusion.

As Bill Gates wrote it in his book, Business at the speed of thought, “Those meetings that are planned well in advance are the most effective ones.”

Most importantly, as the meeting comes towards the end, make an action plan. Take decisions and execute them.

Give a direction

You can be open for brainstorming or a discussion. But that should not allow the meeting to go astray. As a chairperson, you need to give the meeting a sense of direction.

You have to be like a good television talk-show anchor: when the answers to any question are going out of way, or if the person being asked is talking too much, you cut him off diplomatically and move ahead to the next question.

Come to the point as soon as possible

This is very critical. Meetings need to be started off like any other session. Be casual—ask about how things are, find out if all is well, offer tea, warm up the discussion etc.

However, as the meeting proceeds, it is very necessary to come to the point as soon as possible—ASAP! This is where we have to monitor our time.

Therefore, the success of any meeting lies in having only a few and important points on the agenda…Most importantly, as the meeting comes towards the end, make an action plan. Take decisions and execute them. Otherwise, it will be like the old office joke, “When our boss has nothing to do—he calls a meeting!”




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