The ability to successfully organize and assemble a group of people with shared interests, usually in a formal setting, for the purpose of discussions is known as meeting management skill. Effective meeting management involves planning and organizing well-structured meetings where members of the team can accomplish more in less time.

Within an organization, various types of meetings are conducted where information sharing takes place e.g. for the purpose of problem-solving, planning, decision making, or a general staff meeting. Such meetings serve as an important means for coordination between teams and constitute a significant part of the life of every organization.

Why is meeting management important

According to studies conducted, about 30% of the work time of an average employee is spent in meetings. Wondering why? It is believed that only 38% of the true meaning and feeling of any message is conveyed by the manner in which things are said, 7% is carried by the choice of words and the remaining 55%, which is the largest fraction, is carried by facial expressions and other non-verbal cues. These statistics obviously make written memos and telephonic conferences relatively less important than face-to-face meetings.

Therefore, if meetings are so important, so is the ability to manage them effectively. Cost efficiency serves as the primary importance of meeting management skills. The more organized a meeting is, the lesser time will be wasted by employees, resulting in increased productivity and revenues for the organization.

Good meeting management skills also ensure valuable contribution by all team members, which helps in finding the optimum solutions for issues at hand. Meeting management also plays an important role in improving communication, interpersonal relationships, teamwork, as well as employee morale and satisfaction.

How to improve meeting management skills

Since effective meetings are indispensable to the success of an organization, the success of your job as well as your career depends to a great extent on your meeting management skills. Following are the tips that will help you improve:

  • Begin by communicating the purpose. Within the first five to seven minutes, outline the purpose of the meeting very clearly by telling what goals and objectives you wish to accomplish through this meeting. Also use this time to set a foundation, establish certain parameters, and decide a timeframe to run the meeting in.
  • Encourage participation by all. In order to make a meeting more effective, you must be able to manage it in a way that allows for open discussions. The participants of the meeting who are shy or reluctant should be given equal opportunity and encouragement to share their opinions and contribute their ideas.
  • Press for closure. A decision is not necessarily made at the end of the meeting only. There can be several items on the agenda of a meeting. To ensure that the members do not lose track of time or topic, press for closure after a decision is made for each and every item on the agenda. Summarize the main point at each step i.e. the end of every discussion, as well as at the end of the meeting. Allocate the roles and responsibilities and have everyone acknowledge their agreement.
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