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English for students of economics.doc
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How to organize and conduct a meeting

Meeting is an essential part of manager’s work. They are held for three main reasons: 1) to carry out training, 2) to transmit information, 3) to solve a problem.

Read the following recommendations and try to follow them in your life.

Before you call a meeting:

  • Decide if the meeting is the best method of achieving the objective;

  • Put the objective in writing;

  • Collect all the information necessary;

  • Select specific items for discussion;

  • Anticipate difficulties, awkward members and prepare documents to overcome the difficulties expected;

  • Prepare the agendas with no more than 5 objectives.

During the meeting:

  • state the purpose of the meeting

  • outline the objectives it is hoped to achieve

  • do not impose your views on the group

  • direct discussion toward the objectives

  • develop participation by contrasting different viewpoints

  • watch the clock and note reaction of members who appear to be loosing interest

  • where opinion is divided a vote is to be taken.

After the meeting;

  • the secretary of the meeting prepares “minutes”

  • minutes must be an accurate account of the substance of the meeting. No opinions, no discussions, no irrelevant talk. They should be brief.

  • minutes should follow the agenda of the meeting.

Tips for better meeting

  1. Hold them early in the day and don’t allow phone calls to interrupt the proceedings.

  2. Pay particular attention to meeting; chairs should not be plastic-covered but fabric covered and firm.

  3. If you know you are going to have a difficult person at the meeting, sit that person on your right or left. If this person is allowed to sit opposite you, the meeting will often be split into two.

  4. Get everyone to contribute to the discussion but don’t put people on the spot by asking, “What do you think, Jane?”

  5. Place your watch on the table in front of you so that people can see you are going to run to time; start on time; finish when you say you will.

  6. Avoid letting people know what you think before they have made their views known.

Ex. 9. Read and translate in written form some recommendations about how to be

a good chairperson.

A good chairperson should be a good timekeeper. They should start the meeting on time, without waiting for latecomers.

They should appoint a minute-taker to take the minutes, making sure that opinions and action points (where participants agree to do something) are noted.

They should make sure each point on the agenda is allocated the time it deserves and should keep to the timetable. When the time allocated to one point is up, the chair should make sure that discussion moves on to the next point, even if the issue has not been completely covered (decided).

The chair should make sure that each participant has the chance to make their point, and should deal tactfully with disagreements, making sure that each side feels their point of view has been noted. They should also try to avoid digressions, when people get off the point.

Finally, they should ensure the meeting finishes on time, or early.

After some meetings, it's necessary for the minutes to be circulated, especially if there are action points that particular people are responsible for.

At the next meeting, the chair should ask for the minutes to be read out and see if all agree that it is an accurate record of what happened, and see if there are any matters arising (any points from the last meeting that need to be discussed). And they should check what progress has been made on the action points from the previous meeting.

Ex. 10. Hilary Rhodes is talking about the importance of keeping calm in meetings:

In a meeting, you discuss things. In the discussion, some people may agree with you. Others may disagree. They may have differences of opinion with you, but the important thing is to keep calm and remain polite. It's OK to disagree, but it's not OK to be impolite or rude or to lose your temper.

An argument is when people disagree about something, perhaps becoming angry. Your argument is also the set of ideas that you use to prove your point: to show that what you are saying is true.

Now get acquainted with different phrases used at the meetings:

Agreeing

Strong agreement:

a. You're perfectly right.

b. I couldn’t agree more.

Mild agreement:

a. You may be right there.

b. That's true, I suppose.

c. I suppose so.

Disagreeing

Strong disagreement: Mild disagreement:

a. I'm sorry, but that's out of the question. a. I don't really agree.

b. I think you're wrong. b. I think you're mistaken..

c. That's absurd. c. I'm afraid I can't agree with you there.

d. That's ridiculous.

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