Restaurant Management (HM 432) CHAPTER 5 Planning and Conducting Effective Meetings
5.1 INTRODUCTION • One activity that has come to dominate today’s business world is meetings. According to the National Statistics Council, 37% of employee time is spent in meetings. • Meetings are a way managers can keep channels of communication open with their staff Meetings can also serve other purposes such as finding solutions to operational issues or brainstorming new ideas. • The structure that a manager ultimately selects for meetings depends on a number of factors, including the particular culture of the organization.
5.1 INTRODUCTION • This chapter will look at reasons why people do not like to attend meetings and then suggest a number of ways to make your meetings effective. • This chapter will also examine the meeting process from planning a meeting through conducting and evaluating its effectiveness. • Basic elements that are common to meetings will be reviewed. • Suggestions on how to format meeting agendas will also be described. • The flow of running a meeting is presented along with requirements for following up after the meeting.
5.2 Why People Dislike Meetings • Many participants do not take meetings seriously and are not prepared. • Just too many meetings. • Meetings are too long. • People are not focused at meetings. • Some people dominate the meeting. • The information presented at meetings is confusing. • Many people do not speak their mind in meetings. • Meetings never seem to improve.
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings • Given the negative image that meetings have in the business world, how does a manager conduct meetings without perpetuating this image? The better prepared a manager is for conducting a meeting, the better chance everyone will find the meeting to be effective. • To be prepared, the manager needs to understand how to plan a meeting. Planning involves formulating the details of a meeting beforehand so you and the participants know what should occur during it. Planning also involves applying a standard methodology to the meeting process to ensure outcomes are achieved.
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Types of Meetings • A meeting is an assembly of people for the purpose of discussing or making decisions about some topics. Knowing what type of meeting you want to plan and conduct is an important step. Most meetings can be sorted into four categories: • Information meetings • Problem-solving meetings • Brainstorming meetings • Action meetings
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Meeting Objectives • As part of the planning process, managers should identify any business objectives that need to be accomplished at the meeting and determine the appropriate type of meeting to accomplish those objectives. • An effective manager will also get feedback from the management team and employees who will be involved in the meeting in order to craft objectives helps everyone attending the meeting understand its specific purpose and reason.
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Meeting Attendees • As you plan the meeting, you should determine who needs to attend the meeting, which is related to the type of meeting you are conducting and its purpose. • It is important to invite and include only those people who are essential to the purpose of the meeting.
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Meeting Frequency • For a meeting to be effective, it needs to follow a useful and comfortable process with established guidelines as seen in the following Exhibit ;
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Meeting Frequency • The type of meeting can dictate how often it is held. • It is important for a manager to try not to mix too many types of meetings together. It is more effective to have shorter meetings that are focused on similar issues and objectives than to combine a number of items into one longer meeting.
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Developing the Agenda • The next step is to develop the meeting agenda based on the objectives. An agenda is simply a list of topics that will be reviewed or dealt with at a meeting. • Agendas are created based on the objectives, purpose, and any feedback you have gathered from participants. The agenda becomes the roadmap for conducting the meeting. A sample meeting agenda is shown in the following Exhibit.
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Parts of an Agenda • Name or type of meeting. • Date, time, and location • People attending • Materials to bring • Meeting purpose/objectives • Agenda topics. • Topic type.. • If there are any presenters, associate them with the topic they will be presenting or facilitating. • Time frame for each agenda item. • Next steps. • Conclusion. • Evaluation.
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Warm-up Activities • A warm-up activityis a quick, interactive activity that prepares people to focus on the meeting and its objectives. • A wide assortment of warm-up activities can be planned and designed into a meeting, including: • Introduction activities • Rev-up activities • Appreciative activities • Competitive activities • Team-building activities • Training activities
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Premeeting Activities and Assignments • These activities can range from reading materials that will be discussed at the meeting to completing some type of task and reporting their findings. • If the manager determines that some type of premeeting assignment does need to be completed by participants so they are prepared to participate productively, the manager should answer the following questions:
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Premeeting Activities and Assignments • What pre-activity or assignment needs to be completed? • Does the activity need to be completed before the meeting, or can it be done during the meeting? • Does this activity support one of the objectives and This manager uses humor to engage his staff in a preshift meeting. purpose of the meeting? • Will all participants need to complete the assignment? If not, who will be designated to complete the activity?
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Premeeting Activities and Assignments • How much time will it take to complete the pre-assignment? • What materials do you need to put together for the pre-assignment? • What instructions do you need to write to accompany the pre-assignment? • Do you need to include a cover letter when you distribute the agenda and pre-assignment? • Have you included the pre-assignment in the agenda?
5.3 Planning Effective Meetings Scheduling the Meeting • Once you have determined the objectives and set the meeting agenda, you need to schedule the meeting time and date.
5.4 Conducting Effective Meetings • A meeting facilitator is someone who assists in making the meeting run easier. Whether you as the manager, act as a facilitator, or you decide to ask someone to play that role, a facilitator’s major responsibility is to keep the meeting focused and moving.
5.4 Conducting Effective Meetings Other responsibilities for a meeting facilitator are: • Determining whether any issues need to be tabled and reviewed later or in another meeting. • Telling the group that time has expired on an agenda item. • Intervening and refocusing the group if the discussion breaks into several different but related conversations. • Managing the discussion of sensitive topics in a neutral manner. • Preventing anyone from dominating the meeting or being ignored. • Bringing closure to agenda points.
5.4 Conducting Effective Meetings A few key objectives a manager can carry out to ensure a successful meeting include: • Arriving early • Having a sign-in sheet • Starting on time • Using and following an agenda • Understanding the purpose and objectives of the meeting • Identifying action items and assignments consistently • Ending on time • Using evaluation information for improvement
5.4 Conducting Effective Meetings Establishing Ground Rules Ground rules are the norms regarding how meetings are run, how participants should interact, and what behavior is acceptable. Ground rules may cover any of these behaviors: • Promptness • Conversational courtesies • Breaks • Interruptions • Rotation or routine tasks—such as recorder or flipchart recorder • Other norms the group wants to enforce • Question and answer periods
5.4 Conducting Effective Meetings During the Meeting • Throughout the course of the meeting, each agenda item should be presented. Closing the Meeting • Once you have gone through all the agenda items, you need to bring closure to the meeting.