Commencing a Meeting
The second stage in our model for effective meetings is Commencing a Meeting. On the MeetingArk website you can find discussion groups about Commencing a Meeting, and a set of FAQs (and answers) relating to Commencing a Meeting.
Our discussion groups on Commencing a Meeting comprise a number of topics, starting with arrival and registration covering those all-important first impressions. Registration is particularly relevant for larger meetings and conferences.
Agendas have a mixed reputation. For some they are unnecessary constraint but for others essential for the smooth-running of the meeting. Forming an agenda can be a simple as a quick “what shall we discuss?” conversation, through a pre-prepared list of topics, to specific plans with timings, details of session leaders, papers and presentations – the detailed end of this spectrum being most appropriate for formal meetings and conferences.
Almost all meetings benefit from introductions, particularly when the group hasn’t met before. A closely related topic is setting expectations, which covers what the attendees (not just the chair or person who called the meeting) hope to achieve – even regular team meetings can be improved by a brief discussion of what is aimed for at that specific event.
One topic where we hope to produce lots of ideas is for ice-breakers. These can be an effective and fun way of kicking off a meeting, especially for a new group. The general rule of ice-breakers is to keep innovating, as they easily become stale when reused. So let’s see if we can generate lots of suggestions for different ice-breakers.
Also under Commencing a Meeting is the discussion of meetings in a public space. Meeting in areas such as restaurants and cafes, or even around the metaphorical water-cooler, can be very productive but pose some specific challenges. Such meetings are often spontaneous, and this can make it difficult to set an agenda, take notes or make presentations. These meetings can also arise from the lack of a suitable alternative venue – should you abandon the meeting or go ahead anyway?
One of the challenges of meeting in a public space is privacy & security, which has its own discussion group. This is an important topic for all meetings, whether physical or virtual, and has ramifications in many other areas such as who should attend, briefing materials, taking notes and circulating minutes.
We hope you find these discussion groups useful and hope you will contribute to some or all of these discussions about Commencing a Meeting.