Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 12th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt April 12 - 2017
Make meetings work
As our new Chief Secretary, Kelvin
Charles sets the pace for Tobago's produc-
tivity, we want to back his call for timeliness
and purpose in delivery. This week we want
to suggest as individuals we can make small
steps for improvement by changing the way
we do some everyday things, such as The
Start and end on time. If people have
allotted a certain time for a meeting, make
sure you stick to it. Starting meetings late
is a common cause of wasted time, so get
there a few minutes early and be ready to
start on time. Getting there early also allows
time for a bit of chat, which can help build
relationships and help the rest of the meet-
ing flow smoothly.
Stick to the objective(s). It's very easy to
get sidetracked, but if the meeting organis-
er has done their preparation, then everyone
should know the purpose and what needs
to happen. The meeting organiser or chair
should manage the agenda and the time to
make sure this happens, but everybody needs
to stay focused. This also means that nobody
should be having separate conversations -- if
it's relevant to the meeting, tell everybody.
If it's not, then save it.
Talking of staying focused, ban phones
and emails from meetings! If the meeting is
a long one, and people really need to stay
in touch with the rest of the world, then
schedule a short break to allow them to do
this. If someone is using their phone or lap-
top during a meeting, this can be seen by
other participants as disrespectful and
Involve everybody. If you've asked some-
body to the meeting, then it's because they
have something to learn or contribute, so
make sure that happens. At the same time,
though, you need to make sure that nobody
dominates the discussion -- the people with
the loudest voices are not necessarily right,
so learning to manage the loud people while
involving the quiet people is a vital skill.
Look for the constructive, not the destruc-
tive. If the meeting is about something that
has gone wrong, then use the meeting to
look for a way to fix it. Spending time on
blame and making people feel bad will only
take you further from the solution. Focus on
the issues, not the people, and watch out
for potential arguments. Passion is good, but
anger is not.
Have somebody take the minutes. These
are summary notes of who said what and
who committed to doing what (action items).
Action items are a crucial output of a meet-
ing -- without them, what was the meeting
for? These minutes should be circulated to
all participants (and any other relevant stake-
holders) as soon as possible after the meet-
ing. It's surprising how often misunderstand-
ings come to light when people read about
what happened in the meeting they just
For the same reason, it's also a good idea
to close the meeting with a summary. Tell
people what was discussed and who agreed
to do what.
Finally, you might like to try some novel
approaches to meetings, just to keep them
fresh. One idea that seems to work well is
not letting people sit down: multiple studies
have shown that meetings are often quicker
and more focused if people are standing up.
What other techniques might help you
make the most of your meetings? If you
would like to comment or contribute some-
thing, we'd love to hear from you. Please
send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to comment or contribute something, we'd love to hear from you.
Please send us an e-mail at email@example.com
Tobago Institute of Literacy executive officer Susan Sandiford reacts on
receiving a bouquet of flowers in appreciation for her service to the
organisation from outgoing chairman of the board of directors John Solomon.
The Tobago Institute of Literacy
provides services and products to
people who have literacy challenges,
and are seeking to become more com-
petent, self-reliant, life-long learners
who contribute positively to the
socio-economics development of the
family community and country. The
group held their Annual General
Meeting last week (April 4, 2017) at
the Anne Mitchell-Gift Auditorium,
PHOTOS: THA INFO DEPARTMENT.
Guests at the TIL's annual general meeting.
THA Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles greets
incoming chairman of the Tobago Literacy
Institute Lyndon Wilson, right, while outgoing
chairman John Solomon, centre, looks on.
Links Archive April 11th 2017 April 13th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page